By Anthony Kolawole
A part of Nigeria’s heart secured from insecurity in the Northeast was shuddered last Saturday. The remnants of exiled insurgents regrouped and pushed another anxious, but futile violent raids to recapture, Gudumbali.
Determined as ever, the Boko Haram struck at Gudumbali village, a kindred in Guzamala . The ultimate target was to retrieve Guzamala LGA from the hands of the Nigerian Army. But the terrorists’ fortified strategies failed to yield the expected results, as suave Nigerian troops courageously, repelled the siege and horrendous attacks on Nigerians delightfully.
The attacks are coming barely six months to the presidential elections in 2019. Therefore, one can comfortably conclude that the timing by insurgents and their agents is probably right. It futilely sought to enliven the sense of a false and hyper illusion of a re-energized Boko Haram’s phantasm or obviously watered supremacy.
Boko Haram insurgents were sufficiently provoked for a singular reason. The irrepressible COAS and leader of the counter-terrorism operations in Nigeria, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai, who has carved a niche for himself as terrorists’ nemesis, but a soldier-hero and true leader to his troops provoked the insurgents.
Gen. Buratai enflamed the terrorists by his cerebral remembrance and erection of a memorial cenotaph for Nigeria’s fallen heroes in the mini-city of Guzamala LGA of Borno state . This locality particularly in the crowning heights of insurgency, especially in 2014 and early 2015, notoriously consumed scores of Nigerian troops who battled to reclaim seized territories.
Gen. Buratai’s leadership and the Nigerian Army fondly recall the bravery, courage and patriotism of colleagues. It has been evergreen and sparks passions of eternal love for their fallen colleagues fighting day and night, under sunshine and rain to restore peace and security to Nigeria in the hitherto terrorism bug in the Northeast.
It was a spot where the insurgents, already in control of Guzamala laid several land mines and IEDs, in bloody combats, with soldiers, which killed scores of Nigerian troops. The incidents saddened Buratai endlessly as Commander of M-NJTF.
But months later, after the tragic encounter, and Buratai came on board as COAS. Instantly, he unleashed vexatious troops who descended on insurgents, chasing and killing, forcing them to vacate the Local government and others. The end result was the flat defeat of terrorists in the area and the reclamation of Guzamala local government area from the grip of Boko Haram.
The insurgents have kept nursing the wounds of their sack from Guzamala. Its proximity to the Lake Chad Basin under the grip of terrorists naturally and immensely assisted Boko Haram to make smooth, violent incursions into the hinterland of the Northeast to commit their usual atrocities and retreat unscathed.
It’s being a sour point in the triumphalism of insurgents, who at that time held unto over 23 LGAs of Nigerian territories. But rescuing Guzamala from terrorists grip, has been a deep, unhealed cut. It is an unforgettable affront on a presumed might or invincibility of terrorists; shattered by the superiority of Nigerian troops under Gen. Buratai.
But as it is traditional with the Army, Gen. Buratai seems to have assaulted and mocked the prowess of insurgents too repeatedly by the July 2018 memorial cenotaph for fallen heroes. He affectionately named it “ Forever In Our Hearts, ” at Gudumbali, the Guzamala council headquarters for paying the supreme price for their fatherland.
Guzambali is just about 125 kilometers to Maiduguri. And more to it, hundreds of IDPs have since celebrated their return home, resettled and have kick-started life in their communities and villages for over a year.
The cenotaph specially recognized Nigerian troops murdered in battle in the Lake Chad region and buried in the same locality for posterity. And after Gen. Buratai killed scores of the insurgents who occupied Guzamala and the remnants escaped as far back as mid-2016 , the anger has continued to glow in the defeated fanatical killers.
Sufficiently irked, fleeing remnants of Boko Haram sect, who probably recuperated in neighbouring countries, re-grouped, reconvened and attempted to swoop like hawks on chickens on the inhabitants of Guzamala last Saturday.
Feelers from the Saturday attacks on Gudumbali have loudly proclaimed that the insurgents assembled all the last arsenals in their secret armories, planned and staged the attack on Nigerian troops, with a fierceness’ to overrun the military and recapture the area. Its occupation by Nigerian soldiers, no doubt has been an intractable encumbrance to the insurgents in making further inland ingresses.
So, the intention of terrorists’ and their agents was to break news headlines in local and internal media of a powerful resurgence by sacking Nigerian troops in Guzamala. Insurgents intended to overrun and re-occupy the rural city, as inured to them between 2014 and 2015 under the past government. But it failed to flatly.
Of course, the sneaky, invading insurgents initially inflicted harm on defenseless Nigerian citizens in the locality, but the Army held its guard, stood audaciously in hours of gun battle with the terrorists; effectively resisted and repelled the bloodthirsty insurgents.
Several natives of Gudumbali, including one Abdul Bari, relayed that the terrorists’ told locals on arrival that;
“Their target was the military and not civilians. This is what they told us as. They asked us to get out of their sight within a blink of an eye. The insurgents were fully kitted with khaki and covered their faces…After one minute, they began shooting from the gun truck, facing the military location. There were sounds of sporadic gunshots from many directions. I don’t know what happened, but the army was engaging with the terrorists.”
The viciousness and dreariness of the Gudumbali terrorists’ invasion would have easily displaced effeminate troops, who least understand their briefs. It would have not only killed hundreds of innocent souls, but would have abducted scores of victims and reclaimed Guzamala LGA, which is insurgents most wanted territory after the collapse of Sambisa forest and their dislodgement by the Army.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) describes the terrorists invasion in these scary words, “… scores of jihadists in gun trucks and carrying various calibre of arms, stormed the town and engaged the troops in fierce battle that lasted for many hours.”
But the trusted Nigerian troops never shrieked, but faced them fire for fire. The midnight terrorists on Gudumbali were however, tidily resisted by Nigerian troops at 5pm of same day , as the military moved into action as soon as they were alerted by locals.
An elated Director, Army Public Relations Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, who confirmed the attacks, praised troops and simply said, “The troops inflicted overwhelming casualty on the terrorists due to superior fire power while some of the terrorists fled to the fringes of Lake Chad.”
Piqued fleeing terrorists who could not overpower the Nigerian troops in Guzamala, furiously set some deserted buildings ablaze, having earlier scared the villagers who took to their heels for safety. The next day’s (Sunday) terrorists attack on another military facility in Baga, Kukawa LGA on the fringes of the Lake Chad was part of the expression of the frustrations they have faced to re-register presence.
Even in this instance, Nigerian troops proved their mettle by repelling the terrorists and defending, Nigeria, her peoples, territories and sovereignty.
Therefore, despite the undisguised political undertones in the resurgence of Boko Haram attacks on Nigerians, the results point to one surefire fact. It has sent a clear message to the terrorists that whether by emergency attacks or guerilla warfare, the Nigerian Military have proved that they can never, ever take Nigeria for a ride again on terrorism atrocities. Nigerian troops have repelled them despite their sophistication and sneaky invasions.
So, some Boko Haram agents in the PDP like Senators Dino Melaye and his co-travellers have failed to know it is not business as usual. They were very loud in excitement and went down town celebrating the pyrrhic success of terrorists over Nigerian troops and Nigerians. Sadly, Boko Haram failed to the chagrin of their political fathers who plot nothing else than the collapse of Nigeria.
The Gudumbali village didn’t fall neither did Guzamala LGA. Nigerian troops again resisted the fire-spitting terrorists and proved that yes, Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari can indeed rubbish remnants of resurgent terrorists. These recent attacks by terrorists have again proven the immutable fact of the Nigerian’s troops sustained winning streaks against insurgents and, that times have indeed, changed in Nigeria.
Kolawole PhD, a University lecturer wrote this piece from Keffi.