Category Archives: MILITARY SERVICES

Statements and Contributions by the Army, Navy, Airforce and joint operations

Nigerian Army redeploys GOCs, other top officers

On 15 February, the Nigerian Army redeployed 29 Major Generals including General Officers Commanding (GOCs) divisions, along with 42 brigadier generals.

A statement signed by the Chief of Staff, Directorate of Army Public Relations, Colonel Usman Abdul said the GOC 1 Division, Kaduna, Major General Joseph Shoboiki, moves to Defence Headquarters as Director of Policy while former Director of Training at the Army Headquarters, Major General Garba Ayodele Wahab now takes over as GOC 1 Division.

Major General J. O. Nwaogbo, until recently commander of the military Joint Task Force in Borno State, is now GOC 3 Division, Jos while Major General Sunday O. Idoko moved from the 82 Division, Enugu as GOC to become Chief of Logistics (COLOG) Army Headquarters. Major General O.O. Oshinowo, Head of the Special Task Force (STF), Jos, is now GOC 82 Division.

The Commander, Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery (NACA), Major General Emmanuel Etim Bassey, has been appointed Chief of Administration at Army Headquarters while Major General M.B. Ibrahim, formerly of Defence Headquarters now commands the Special Task Force (STF) Jos.

Major General A.T. Jibrin and Major General U. Buzugbe have been confirmed as Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) and Military Secretary (Army) respectively.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Major General Raphael Ishaku Isa, is now the Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army while Major General J.S. Zaruwa is the new Commander of the Nigerian Army Peace Keeping Centre (NAPKC) in Jaji. Major General A.S. Agha-Okoro of the Department of Army Training and Operations (DATOPS) at the Army Headquarters is now the Director, Legal Services (DLS).

Others appointments include Commander 3 Brigade, Brigadier General I. I. Abbah; Commander 31 Brigade, Brigadier General Ilouga; and Commander 21 Brigade, Brigadier General R.O. Bamigboye.

Brigadier General C. O. Okoro, of 81 Division is now Sector Commander/Nigerian Contingent Commander of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), while Brigadier General M. A. Koleoso becomes Sector Commander/Nigerian Contingent Commander for the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

17 killed as soldiers smash fleeing bank robbers in Ebonyi State

On 24 January, about 17 people were killed, as an armed gang attempted to rob a bank in Ugep, Cross River State, and was later intercepted and smashed by soldiers in Ebonyi State.

Local sources report that three persons, including a policeman, were killed during a gun duel between the robbers and security agents in the bank at Ugep, after the gang had raided another bank at Ikom.

The sources said another four people were killed by stray bullets, as the robbers shot indiscriminately while escaping the town in two vehicles, heading towards Ebonyi State through the Ugep-Abomege Road.

As the robbers fled, soldiers on routine patrol in Ebonyi State were alerted of their movement. Troops from the 103 Battalion and the 24 Engineer Regiment, 82 Division Garrison, blocked all the routes through which the gang could have escaped. The soldiers soon intercepted the robbers as they were heading towards the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.

In the fierce gun fight that followed, seven of the robbers were killed; two others were seriously wounded and bled to death before reaching a hospital, while six escaped into the bush, apparently with bullet wounds. The soldiers lost one man, with two others wounded.

The Assistant Director of Army Public Relations at the Army’s 82 Division headquarters in Enugu, Lt Col Sagir Musa, confirmed the casualties.

He added that items recovered from the robbers included two RPG7 bombs, 28 empty magazines, two gas cylinders, 37 empty cases of 7.62 mm special ammunition, 22 live rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and two vehicles.

Dont negotiate with Boko Haram, Army Chief Gen Ihejirika warns

Lt Gen A. O. IHEJIRIKA, Chief of Army Staff

On 24 January, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubike Ihejirika, warned against entering into any negotiation with the militant Islamist sect widely known as Boko Haram, stressing that dialogue had never been an effective response to terrorism.

The Army chief gave the warning in the federal capital, Abuja, in his brief remarks at the opening ceremony of a seminar on National Security, organized by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC) in collaboration with the National Defence College (NDC), Abuja.

Objecting to any dialogue with the sect which has killed hundreds of Nigerians, the Army chief said: “No matter and whatever the measures you put in place, we would not get the best result and fast enough, unless the society as a whole rejects terrorism without any justification”.

Gen Ihejirika stressed that: “Those who try to justify acts of terrorism inadvertently support terrorists. And some do so only to discover later that terrorism is not a matter to be negotiated and won”.

He added that: “The Army is not resting on its oars, as it is transforming on the training of its personnel”. In this regard, he disclosed that the last batch of a special quick response squad had just passed out from training and had been deployed to curtail the movements of the terrorists.

Suspected gun runner and terrorism supporter paraded by Army in Kaduna, son declared wanted

Map of Nigeria showing Kaduna State

On 16 January, Army authorities presented Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa to newsmen, alleging that he had been involved in gun running and in supporting a terrorist group in Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State. Also accused was one of his sons, Musa Nuhu Mohammed. Another son, Yusuf Nuhu Mohammed, was declared wanted for allegedly shooting at security personnel and then fleeing with his weapon.

Alhaji Marafa is a former chairman of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association in Kaduna State.

Addressing a press conference, the Assistant Director of Public Relations, 1 Mechanised Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Lt Col Abubakar Edun, on behalf of the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Maj Gen Joseph Shoboiki, said the principal suspect was arrested after a search was conducted on his compound.

Narrating the circumstances of the arrest, Col Edun said Marafa’s activities, bordering on issues of national security, had attracted the attention of the Nigerian Army. Those activities, he said, specifically had to do with gun running and suspected association and support of a terrorist group. After intensive surveillance, troops from the Kaduna-based 1 Division, on the night of 13/14 January, were sent to search his compound, located at Trikania area, opposite IBBI, in Kaduna.

The army spokesman said: “Before troops could gain entrance into the house, there was a gunshot fired at soldiers from the compound. It was later revealed that the shot was fired allegedly by Yusuf Nuhu Mohammed, the son of Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa. Yusuf escaped with the weapon by scaling the fence of the compound”.

He further disclosed that when the troops finally gained entrance into compound, several weapons and other incriminating items were discovered.

The items found included, “nine number of 9 MM ammunition, five number of 6MM ammunition, 7.62 mm (special) ammunition, 11 number of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition, 17 barrel gun cartridges”.

“Others include one pump-action gun, two double-edged special axes, three machetes, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) bomb in a Mirinda bottle which, if ignited, can cause serious collateral damage to lives and property”.

“Also recovered were two metal bows, three long wooden clubs, one black army belt, one camouflage belt, two dog tags belonging to the Nigerian Army D2004/1/55/1899 S Adamu and US Army 84637857 Rambo RH and Nigerian Army camouflage trousers”.

“Other items recovered include two mobile phones, 10 pairs of vehicle number plates and three single vehicle number plates, one whistle, one passport of Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa and his son, Mohammed Yusuf Nuhu, GSM SIM packs, among others”.

It was on the basis of these discoveries that Alhaji Marafa and one of his sons, Musa, were arrested. The Army spokesman added that Marafa’s other son, Yusuf, who shot at the troops during the search operation, “is hereby declared wanted”.

The Army appealed to law-abiding citizens to assist law enforcement agencies with information that could facilitate arrest of the wanted man. They said investigations were still ongoing and that the suspects will eventually be handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.

However, Alhaji Marafa’s lawyers who also addressed the press after he was paraded by the military, said their client was a law-abiding citizen. Barrister Sani Katu, who spoke on behalf of the three-man legal team said: “The gun was legally acquired alonside the bullets. The plate numbers are also his property”. Other residents said a lot more explanation may be needed, regarding the other items that were recovered from Alhaji Marafa’s residence.

Gen Ewansiha takes over as JTF commander in Borno State, urges cooperation from residents

On 13 January, Maj Gen John Ewansiha assumed office as the new Commander of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri, Borno State, pledging to sustain the tempo of the anti-terrorism campaign and urging residents to cooperate with the military mission.

Speaking at the JTF’s headquarters in Pompomari, Maiduguri, while taking over from the former commander, Maj Gen Jack Nwaogbo (now redeployed to the Defence Headquarters in Abuja), Gen Ewansiha said he would sustain the work JTF had been doing under his predecessor.

He observed that as a result of JTF’s security measures and operations in Borno State, most members of the militant Islamist sect widely known as Boko Haram, as well as violent criminals that had been terrorizing the state, had relocated to other states. He pledged that, under his command, the task force would spare no effort towards stopping serial killings and bombings in the state.

“People terrorizing the state should have a rethink, turn up their weapons and come out for dialogue with the appropriate authorities”, he declared.

The new commander also urged residents of Maiduguri and other violence-scared towns not to flee the state. He said the task force was applying comprehensive security measures to protect lives and property, particularly in the five local government areas under the state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan on 31 December 2011. He appealed to residents to shun rumour peddlers and cooperate with JTF by offering information that could facilitate the arrest of terrorists and criminals.

On the reported excesses of JTF personnel while carrying out their duties, he said the nation’s military does not condone indiscipline and that he would deal decisively with any of his men found violating the ‘Rules of Engagement’ or committing extra-judicial killings. He said: “The soldiers are not mad men and we have our code of conduct, and anyone who falls short is made to face the music”.

However, he also added that troops will defend themselves whenever they are attacked or endangered by terrorists and criminals.

Three die in explosion at bomb factory in Maiduguri, Borno State

Map of Nigeria showing Borno State

On 17 December, three men suspected to be members of the militant Islamist sect commonly known as Boko Haram, were killed in an explosion inside a bomb factory in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

Briefing newsmen on the incident, the spokesman of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt Col Hassan Mohammed reported that at about 9 am, an explosion occurred in Shehuri II area of Bolori in Maiduguri metropolis. He said JTF operatives rushed to the scene of the blast and found that it occurred in a house inhabited by unidentified men, suspected to be members of Boko Haram. They also found three mangled corpses at the scene.

Hassan said the area was immediately cordoned off while the Police Bomb Disposal Squad was called in for detailed investigations. He said the investigators confirmed that the house was being used by suspected members of Boko Haram as a major factory for the production of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

He further stated that large quantities of unused IED-making materials, including three drums containing gun powder, two AK-47 riffles, ammunition, remote controls, uniforms of the Police Mobile Force with ranks, injecting syringes, Jerry cans loaded with gas, one grinding machine, assorted containers of gun powder, tapes with Islamic inscriptions, laptop, video camera, GSM handsets, wall clocks and several prepared IEDs.

Bomb explodes, gunmen kill 2, in Maiduguri, Borno State

Map of Nigeria showing Borno State

On 15 December, a bomb exploded in Gwange area of Maiduguri, Borno State, just as gunmen suspected to be members of the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, killed two people and injured three on Santimari Polo Road.

According to the spokesman of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt Col Hassan Mohammed, some members of Boko Haram detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Gwange ward at about 7.45pm. He said the men had targeted a JTF patrol vehicle, but that the vehicle had left the area by the time the device went off and that there was no casualty.

In the shooting incident, residents said at about 8pm, some gunmen came in an unmarked Volkswagen Golf car and opened fire on people playing cards in front of a shop owned by a GSM recharge card dealer.

One witness said he heard the gunmen saying to people: ‘Don’t run, don’t worry, we are not here for you. We have our target’. They shot two men to death, including the Head Teacher of COCIN Church Primary School in Polo. One report suggests they may have been targeting a security officer who usually comes to the shop, especially at night.

Col Hassan confirmed the incident. He said JTF men pursued two of the suspects who then abandoned their car and fled into the night. He said no arrest had been made, but that normalcy had been restored to the area.

Security tops President Jonathan’s 2012 budget proposals

President GOODLUCK JONATHAN

On 13 December, President Goodluck Jonathan presented his proposals for Nigeria’s 2012 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja, with security claiming the highest allocation.

Of the total sum of N4.749 trillion proposed for the year, security is allocated N921.91 billion, representing almost 20 per cent or one-fifth of the entire budget.

The proposed allocation to security dwarfs those to other critical sectors of the economy. For instance, it is more than three times the N282.77 billion which the Federal Government proposes to spend on the health sector and nearly 12 times the N78.98 billion allocated to agriculture and rural development.

Most analysts believe the high allocation to security in the Federal Government’s budget is understandable. For one, security is exclusively a Federal Government responsibility, while other sectors like health and agriculture are shared responsibilities with the state and local governments. In other words, the Federal Government’s proposed expenditure on these other sectors is only a part of the nation’s overall expenditure on them.

Furthermore, all through 2011, the country has faced unprecedented security challenges, arising from attacks by the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, communal conflicts in Plateau State and the surge of violent crimes – especially armed robbery and ransom kidnapping – in some other parts of the country. Given the impact of these developments on the safety of lives and property, the conduct of domestic economic activities as well as investor confidence in the economy, many Nigerians had urged better resourcing of the police, military and other security agencies.

At the inauguration of the committees of the Senate in early October, Senate President David Mark had said: “Security is an expensive venture. It is an area where, over the years, we had neglected. If they (security agencies) are not properly funded, they will not be proactive”.

Another bomb explosion in Maiduguri, Borno State: 4 killed, 11 wounded

Map of Nigeria showing Borno State

On 13 December, an explosion killed four people and wounded about 11 others in the London Ciki ward of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

Local sources report that the blast came from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which had targeted a patrol vehicle of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), along the busy Tashan Bala Road.

They said a suspected member of the militant Islamist sect widely known as Boko Haram, who was trying to detonate the explosive, was killed by the blast. Among others killed was a 9-year-old child. Eleven other persons reportedly suffered serious injuries. The residential house of the Imam of Maikatanga mosque, Mallam Goni Modu, was burnt down.

The JTF’s Field Operations Officer in Borno, Colonel Victor Ebhaleme, confirmed that an IED was targeted at a military patrol vehicle near a densely populated residential area; but he said the device did not hit any JTF men or operational vehicles.

He said: “We heard the explosion around 9 am, after which we quickly rushed to the scene of the incident where we discovered that a suspected Boko Haram sect member died in the process of detonating an explosive device”. He also said the JTF men recovered some arms and ammunition from the vehicle which the suspected bomber drove before the explosion went off. He said the JTF men “were able to rescue some women and children from one of the houses that was set ablaze as a result of the explosion”. However, he gave no casualty figures.

Ebhaleme said: “Right now, there is no need to panic. We have brought the situation under control”.

Armed robbery in Port Harcourt: We will deploy Army on streets, says Rivers State Gov Amaechi

ROTIMI AMAECHI Governor of Rivers State

On 10 December, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State said the government was set to deploy soldiers on the streets of the state capital, Port Harcourt, to arrest the recent surge of violent crime in the city.

Speaking at a Thanksgiving Service organised for him and also for a Justice of the Supreme Court, Mrs Mary Odili, by the Catholic Diocese of Port Harcourt, Amaechi  said it had become clear that the police now needed some level of support from the Army to wage the war against armed robbers in the state. It will be recalled that in the last five months, at least 25 policemen had been killed by armed robbers in Port Harcourt and its environs.

The Governor said his government would spare no effort towards making the state safe for all residents. He said: “If we could fight the militants (that once terrorized the streets and waterfronts of Port Harcourt), why can’t we fight armed robbers? We will put the Army on the streets until the armed robbers run away”.

He further stated that: “We are tired of pleading with armed robbers to return their guns to the police. We will put the Army on the streets because we believe that the police need support. I will plead with those whose children are robbers to tell their children to stop armed robbery”.

“The story making the round now is that there is a woman leading a gang of three; we will arrest her. For us as a state government, that will be our New Year gift to our people, that woman and her gang will be arrested and prosecuted”, he said.

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