OP HADIN KAI will forever remember General Christopher Musa
The word “Borno” will make every reader of this column think about the troublesome religious fanaticism in Nigeria, or better yet, Boko Haram and or ISWAP. Some of us got the news yesterday that Major General Christopher Musa was moved from his position as Theater Commander of Operation HADIN KAI to the Infantry Corps. We have mixed feelings about this, but we trust that the Army’s top leaders know what they are doing and that the new commander will pick up where the last one left off.
Indeed, Professor Paul Collier of Oxford University was right when he said that. “Future civil wars will take the form of a government pitted against a private extra-legal military grouping. They will variously be called rebels, terrorists, freedom fighters, or gangsters, but their essential characteristics will be the same. These wars will also be a throwback, but to a very different period: the time before nation states cohered.” Young people in the northeast must understand the deceptive tactics of the insurgents. The insurgents always appear as sanctimonious, selfless and godly people. They will then go ahead to claim that they have a better solution to the problem of the society. They often seek to legitimize their use of violence and gradually translate this into meaningful support for their cause by demonstrating moral superiority over the government, supplanting its functions at the local level, and spreading a persuasive message. The moral superiority of the insurgents is a cornerstone of every insurgency across the world, especially those fueled by religious zealots. Insurgents derive support from the people and they often cultivate their relationship with them. It is common to hear them say that “the government is unjust, incapable of solving problems, and that it simply exists to cater for the elites.”
Since the police executed Mohammed Yusuf, the founding leader of Boko Haram, in a “extrajudicial” manner in 2009, Borno State has not seen peace for more than ten years.
Borno is still the country’s epicenter of insurgency, despite the fact that it is not the only state in the North East to have been impacted by the atrocious actions of the two extremist factions.
Fighters from ISWAP and Boko Haram have persisted in holding the once-jovial and peaceful state prisoner while demanding ransom from its residents. Their vicious actions have wreaked havoc on Borno’s socioeconomic existence that is beyond repair and comprehension.
Records show that before today, more precisely before 2015, more than 20 local government areas, or LGAs, in the state had been totally overrun by militants. In the LGAs that were taken, the jihadists established their caliphate.
Villagers and many people of the Borno LGAs that had been “hijacked” fled for safety to Maiduguri, the state capital. Terrorists also targeted prominent emirs in Borno’s largest towns. They all moved their palaces to Maiduguri, quite a few of them.
Lake Chad is one area in the North East that might be referred to as the insurgency’s birthplace, ISWAP-Boko Haram. The region surrounding Lake Chad is viewed by fighters from the two terrorist organizations as their fortress-like bastion.
In the past, Nigerian Army soldiers have engaged militants from Boko Haram and ISWAP who were evacuating the military’s counterinsurgency operation in the axis.
Although just a few victories were noted, the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, sent alpha jets, helicopter gunships, and Super Tucanos to blast terrorist strongholds in the Lake Chad region, conducted several air interdictions.
The Lake Chad region looks to have been freed from militant control in the past year, according to reliable intelligence from the North East.
The area is no longer a safe haven for terrorists under the direction of Gen. Christopher Gwabin Musa, Theater Commander for Operation HADIN KAI.
The formerly “notorious axis” is gradually reclaiming its former grandeur as the center of booming socioeconomic activity for residents of neighboring African nations including Chad, Cameroun, and the Niger Republic in addition to Nigerians in the North East.
Since he became TC, the Nigerian military has made incredible strides against terrorism, particularly in the basin.
In addition to killing hundreds of ISWAP and Boko Haram fighters under the leadership of Gen. Musa and with assistance from the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNJTF, gallant Nigerian troops also captured a sizable quantity of weaponry and ammunition from the defeated rebels in the axis.
For instance, a report from May 21, 2022 said that troops from the MNJTF and Operation Hadin Kai, made up of Nigerian and Nigerien troops, had demolished 10 Boko Haram towns in the Lake Chad valley and the North East.
The army cleared Boko Haram communities in Grada, Daban Gajere, Kwatan Maishayi, Daban Karfe, Tumbun Buhari, and Tunbun Abuja as part of the operation, which began in Monguno on May 17.
Credible sources claim that the Boko Haram members left their enclaves after they were cleared by the MNJTF and Hadin Kai forces in an effort to avoid being murdered by soldiers. However, the enclaves also contained household belongings, a motorcycle, different grains, and cartons of packed fish.
Gen. CG Musa’s focused management at the Maiduguri Theater Command Headquarters has resulted in several valiant achievements for the Nigerian Armed Forces in general, in addition to his successes against adversaries of the Nigerian State in the Lake Chad Basin.
The ISWAP insurgents’ stronghold at Ukuba/Camp Zairo, in Sambisa Forest, was reportedly overrun and surrendered by Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK) soldiers in March of this year. The accomplishment was made possible through a unique operation known as “Operation Desert Sanity.”
In the North-East, between September 2021 and March 2022, no less than 50,801 Boko Haram/ISWAP militants and their families had turned themselves in to Operation Hadin Kai forces.
Gen. CG Musa later revealed at a news conference in Maiduguri that the terrorists who had surrendered included 11,349 fighters, 15,289 women, and 24,163 children. He credited the military’s increased offensive and onslaught against rebels in the area for the military’s victories.
Assuring that the captured insurgents and their families would be carefully profiled by the Nigerian Army and other stakeholders before undergoing rehabilitation processes, Musa claimed that the terrorists turned themselves in to troops in the vicinity of Bama, Gwoza, Banki, and other Lake Chad regions.
Three Chibok girls who vanished in 2014 after Boko Haram attacked their school were just rescued by the military. Between June 12 and June 14, generally in and around Bama and Gwoza, the girls were rescued.
It was discovered that their rescue came after aggressive military operations in the Sambisa Forest, Mandara Mountain, and the surrounding area of Lake Chad. This writer learned that after Gen. CG Musa recently issued a marching operational order, efforts to ensure that the remaining girls are also released through the ongoing Operation Lake and Desert Sanity have been stepped up.
Combat operations in the Operation HADIN KAI Theatre, under the direction of Gen. Musa, resulted in the neutralization of 950 terrorists between May 20, 2021, and January 6, 2022, including some of their prominent commanders and amirs.
The same time frame saw the capture of 79 terrorists by Operation Hadin Kai troops and the rescue of 113 kidnapped civilians.
In a similar vein, during the course of the operations, 195 different weapons, including AK-47 rifles, GPMGs, PKT guns, and locally made weapons, were recovered from terrorist elements.
Additionally, 2,385 rounds of ammunition in various calibers and 253 pieces of livestock that had been rustled were found. In addition, 14 terrorist gun trucks were destroyed, and troops also captured 16 more during this time.
The infamous ISWAP leader, Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, was killed in Borno State in August of last year, just two months after Gen. CG Musa assumed command at the Maiduguri Theater Command.
Sani Shuwaram, Al-successor, Barnawi’s and other sect terrorists were destroyed by military airstrikes in the Marte axis in March of this year.
Many commanders and leaders of ISWAP and Boko Haram have been forced to give up terrorism and lay down their weapons as a result of the relentless attacks by ground troops and NAF fighter jets.
It is also significant to note that, over the past year, Operation Hadin Kai Commander Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa has significantly speeded up the amnesty program for remorseful Boko Haram terrorists.
The actions mentioned above by Gen. Musa undoubtedly helped to reduce the combat effectiveness and power of ISWAP and Boko Haram. However, there is still much to be done to bring Borno State and the North East as a whole back to a state of permanent peace, order, and sanity.
Gen. Musa’s successor must make sure that the liberated towns and villages in Borno are not soon taken again by terrorists.
Above all, this writer will emphasize that Gen. Musa has nothing to fear about as he works tirelessly to realize his exceptional vision and purpose for Operation HADIN KAI despite initial difficulties.
He already undoubtedly has the unwavering support, sincere prayers, and immense goodwill of the entire Borno and North East population.
And there is no question about the Nigerian media’s and many other independent-minded writers’ promises to tell the tale of “The Changing Narratives of the North East” under his watchful eye.
In almost everywhere that insurgency had taken place, the population invariably split into willing assistants, staunch foes, and the undecided majority. To help make up the minds of those undecided, insurgents can demonstrate legitimacy by becoming the de facto government in areas under their control. The issue of the undecided majority is always a matter of concern and I think it is high time for all the people of the northeast especially Borno to understand that it is important for them to disassociate themselves from the insurgents. While it is true that domestic support can be forced from the population, using terror and intimidation, there are many instances where locals have willingly helped the insurgents with intelligence and logistics. The insurgents are like fishes swimming in a sea of popular support: without the sea, the fish will die. Thus, without the local support that the insurgents are getting in the northeast, they insurgency will wither and die.
Therefore, the locals must continue to do their own part to compliment the effort of the military and the government. The gains Nigeria achieved under General Musa must be sustained and if possible improve upon. I want to thank you and bid you farewell on behalf of the noble people of Borno.