“Why Boko Haram Increased Mass Deaths; Ways Out Of This Massacre” – Ahmad Salkida
Top journalist Ahmad Salkida has given a fresh insight and proffered possible solutions into the recent massacre in Borno State by Boko Haram (BH) insurgents. Salkida made this known via a series of tweets he hashtagged ‘#EndBHMassMurder’. According to him,” I’m not trying to justify the reasons given by BH/ISWAP here, I only want to present them & suggest possible quick fix. The North East’s topography & climate vary considerably; there is a Sahara, a Savannah, Mountains and valleys that are surrounded by dense vegetation. Some areas are impenetrable to most of the visiting Nigeria Army (NA).
“But why are soldiers from the region who understand the environment unable to make any difference in this war?Yes, there are very few soldiers with good knowledge of that environment prosecuting this war. Hence the need for the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) or vigilantes who mediated the shortcomings of the NA. Add to the haphazard military & law enforcement institutions in Nigeria, the role of CJTF became critical. Young men & women who could no longer go to farms or local markets found a noble job in protecting their communities.
“Victims of the war suddenly became vigilantes and powerful members of the society and government began to give them incentives. Then excesses from the CJTF & vigilantes like, harassment, extra judicial activities & extortion etc began creeping .No doubt the vigilantes reduced incidences of violence significantly with their ability to detect danger quickly and confronted the threats by themselves or reported to the NA or to other security agencies to deal with it.
“With BH near zero tolerance for phone communications amongst its foot soldiers, CJTF regularly apprehended the couriers. Ordinarily, BH/ISWAP creed abhors Shia but there are few known Shia mosques in the NE sub-region of Nigeria. Therefore in the absence of a thriving Shia and Christian communities in the region any community that takes up arms in the name of vigilantes/CJTF or seen to be collaborating with the NA are regarded as combatants or enemies to BH. This is the interpretation BH uses to inflict mass deaths on men, women and entire community.
“That it is ‘permissible’ for them to take the properties and the lives of communities that took up arms against them. BH said it tried to minimize civilian deaths last year in Mubi because the people there didn’t carry ‘Gora’ stick & machetes. Has the CJTF been effective? Yes. Is the activities of the CJTF reasons BH give for these merciless mass murder? Yes. What can those in authority do to stop this collective punishment meted on communities because of vigilantes?
“An example is a man who always gave soldiers food, shelter etc was fingered by a BH spy during a raid & was slaughtered. That spy happens to be a neighbor to the person who was nice to the soldiers that camped in their community. The question is why expose communities that are only armed with den guns, sticks & machetes to confront well-armed insurgents? There are inadequate soldiers to protect clusters of villages in the vast NE, therefore is it proper to engage villagers. in matters of security & leave them in peril & at the mercy of insurgents when they invade these villages? When communities carry machetes with armed soldiers during operations against BH, what do you expect if the soldiers leave?
“For how long will institutions of state in Nigeria sleep while school-aged children remain on the front line? Since government has repeatedly ignored suggestions in private, here is a few things that can be done. Why can’t we allow relevant institutions to assume their responsibilities in the fight against BH/ISWAP & not vigilantes? Why can’t the Federal Government screen & convert these vigilantes (the CJTF) into the NA or Civil Defense Forces?Why can’t soldiers & security agents work independently without relying on communities for shelter, food etc?
“Why can’t security agencies work independently & develop secure ways of gathering intelligence without endangering villagrs. The NA have praised communities in the past for providing them intelligence only for such communities to be razed. No doubt, this ugly descent to unimaginable level of savagery was set off by BH but the vigilantes are also engaged in ‘officially’ sanctioned violence while their entire communities are taking the brunt of their actions.
“When old friends part ways to join BH & CJTF respectively, it becomes a vicious display of bloodletting. Can most of these youths be trained & employed into the nation’s security agencies & learn not to blow their cover? It is wrong in the first place to throw young boys of school age into the flurry of bloodletting as vigilantes? This hunger by soldiers which was transferred to our youths to eliminate the next suspected person fast without remorse is spreading through the communities indicating that BH is winning us over with its doctrine of violence.
“Behavioral scientists have found that instead of delivering justice, revenge often creates only a cycle of retaliation. At the risk of sounding irrational; can d casualty of this war be restricted to only those that signed up for war? Yes. A painstakng negotiated release of captves may provide leeway to discuss reducing this war to unambiguous targets.There is a proposal to immediately release non-combatant women & children of BH members in military detention centers.
“And the need for neutral non military approach that can painstakingly urge warring parties to respect agreed terms.. It is noteworthy that a comprehensive peace settlement or dialogue is impossible and war is unavoidable here. However, there are certain aspects of ths war that only require non-military approach to bringing respite to defenceless people. This war does not require billions of dollars, symbolic speeches, conferences, a visit to G7 or Mr. Obama to win.
“The involvement of international forces is commendable but it can only retake territories like in Somalia, Afghanistan, Mali etc. But only indigenous fads can secure these territories & may ward off the rural warfare & urban warfare by BH/ISWAP. What we need is to merely understand the ideology fittingly & counter it to dissuade existing & potential recruits.What we need is to build confidence amongst locals, give them a sense of belonging to provide invaluable intelligence.
“The greatest weapon that is lacking in this war is intelligence born out of patriotism & not photo-ops or for cash.The greatest weapon available to BH may never be exterminated by use of military firepower, that weapon is their doctrine. Therefore how do you eliminate a doctrine with the use of force alone? Take a close look at Somalia, Afghan/Pakistan? #EndBHMassMurder.”
Culled from CityPeople