Foreign powers sponsoring terrorism – Army alleges

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• Claims Plot To Scuttle May 29 Handover
• NAF Storms Birnin Gwari
• El-Rufai Seeks Deployment Of Special Forces On Kaduna-Abuja Highway

The Nigerian Army has alleged that some unnamed foreign powers, working in concert with their local collaborators were complicating the country’s security challenges by sponsoring terrorism and banditry.

According to the army, not only are these elements working assiduously to derail the ongoing counter-insurgency efforts, as well as the West African sub-region, they were also hard at work to scuttle the country’s democracy as well as the May 29 handover date.

In a statement, yesterday, the Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sagir Musa, said that the “mischief markers were determined to undermine the peace and integrity of Nigeria.”

It “noted with great concern, efforts by some unpatriotic individuals, groups and foreign interests determined to cause mischief and exacerbate the security situation in this country in particular, and West African Sub-region.”

The statement added that these persons and groups were making concerted efforts to further induce the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP)/Boko Haram terrorists and bandits with funds and other logistic supports.

“Their body language and unguarded utterances seem to be in tandem with the above and imply tacit support for the criminals. For example, credible sources have shown that some individuals are hobnobbing with Boko Haram terrorists, while others are deliberately churning out falsehood against security agencies with a view to setting the military against the people and the government,” the statement said.

It added: “They are also demoralising troops and security agencies through false accusations and fake news. Therefore, it has become necessary to inform the public and warn such persons and groups to desist as the consequences of their actions would be calamitous to themselves and our great country.

“Some of these mischievous elements thought that we would not have a safe and successful general elections, but were proven wrong, hence they want to derail the scheduled handing over later this month and to scuttle the democratic process in the country.

“We also noted that foreign interests are also working assiduously to cause disaffection and divide the coalition Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to give room for the so-called ISWAP and its defeated local franchise, Boko Haram terrorists group to resurrect,” it stated.

It further said that while the military has confidence in the Federal Government’s efforts at sustaining and reinvigorating the MNJTF to continue its good work, it would not relent in clearing the visages and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists and their sympathisers, adding that the Nigerian Army as a stakeholder in national security and sustenance of democracy would do all that is necessary to maintain the peace.

“We would like to reiterate our unalloyed loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and we are determined more than ever before to continue to uphold the Constitution and defend the territorial integrity of this nation from both external and internal aggression.

“Nigeria is a sovereign country with clearly established judicial system, therefore all aggrieved persons and groups should take advantage of that and resolve their differences amicably,” the statement stressed.
MEANWHILE, the Nigerian Air Force, yesterday, commissioned the 271 Nigerian Air Force Detachment in Birnin Gwari Local Council, as part of efforts to contain insecurity in the area and environs.

The 271 NAF Detachment is the brainchild of the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadiq Baba Abubakar, as part of the service’s efforts at combating persistent insecurity occasioned by armed banditry in the area.

In his address, the CAS said the NAF for sometime now has been involved in various internal security operations in the country, either singly or in conjunction with sister services. One of such operations is Operation DIRAN MIKIYA, which he said is intended to neutralise and flush out armed bandits and kidnappers, as well as cattle rustlers operating in the North West region.

“Accordingly, the 271 NAF Detachment was established as a blocking force for troops involved in Operation DIRAN MIKIYA and SHARAN DAJI. The NAF is committed to seeing that the territorial integrity of our dear country is preserved as this is the only country we can call our own.  It is our desire, therefore, to ensure that the menace of terrorism, kidnapping, cattle rustling and armed banditry are curtailed, if not completely eradicated.

“The commissioning of 271 NAF Detachment Birnin Gwari is a testimony of the NAF commitment to the fight against insurgency and banditry in Nigeria.

“Let me quickly add here that the establishment of 271 NAF Detachment in Birnin Gwari would not have been possible without the full support of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces President Muhammadu Buhari. May I also recognise the immense contribution of the National Assembly, especially its committees on Defence and Air Force in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

Abubakar reassured Nigerians of the firm dedication of the NAF to the fight against terrorism and all forms of criminality in Nigeria, while commending all NAF personnel involved in various operations across the country for their relentless efforts in ensuring peace and calm in the country.

Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai who commissioned the detachment, commended the community for donating part of their land for the security facility, while assuring that the state government would ensure that they are compensated accordingly.

He appealed to the CAS to help in the deployment of NAF special forces to help man the Kaduna-Abuja Highway to help address the recurring kidnapping activities there, while appealing also for another NAF detachment to be established in Kajuru Local Council of the state. (The Guardian)