Boko Haram, ISWAP reunion: We’re studying development –Army

From Molly Kilete, Abuja

Apprehension has gripped Nigerians over reported reunion of the Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists groups. They say the development is a grave danger not only for military operations in the North East but for the entire country.

The Islamist terrorist groups have picked a new leader, Aba Ibrahim Al-Hashimiyil AlKhuraishi, who they called ‘Khalifan Muslimai’or (leader of all Muslims),

In a 13-minutes long video obtained by PRNigeria, an army of terrorists belonging to the rival extremist groups reunited themselves, after they individually placed their hands atop one another, while chanting words of solidarity, to demonstrate their reuniting and togetherness.

The terrorists who spoke in Arabic, Hausa, English and Fulfulde pledged allegiance to AlKhuraishi.

      With the reunion and allegiance by the terrorists group, there are fears that attacks on military bases and locations would spike in the coming days as ISWAP, unlike their Boko Haram counterparts, are known for attacking only military locations and carting away large cache of arms and ammunitions.

Meanwhile, the army has said there is no cause for alarm. It said it remained relentless and focused to defeat terrorists and other criminals.

Army spokesman, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the authorities was studying the new development and analysing the potential threats inherent in the so-called reunion.

“As we speak, the Chief of Army Staff, Maj-Gen. Faruk Yahaya and principal staff officers have been on a working tour of the North East theatre of operations. He has visited and addressed troops in the sectors and frontlines.

“Operational strategies are being reviewed and a new vigour injected into the counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency operations conducted by our gallant and dogged troops.

“We assure all Nigerians that our troops will remain relentless and focused until this evil is defeated. We call on the generality of Nigerians and particularly, the host communities to support our troops in the fight against the terrorists and insurgents. Together we will bring our common adversaries to an end.”

Maj.-Gen. Yahaya charged troops to be decisive and alert against terrorism and insurgency in the North-East.

He gave the charge during his maiden operational visit to the troops of Sector 3 OPHK/Multinational Joint Task Force in Monguno, fighting against ISWAP, Boko Haram and others.

He also admonished them to be apolitical, decisive and circumspect in all their operational engagements as well as sustain the tempo of aggression to bring insurgency to an end.

       While the army has said the mending of fences of ISWAP and Boko Haram is nothing to worry about, top military intelligence officers think otherwise as they said there was a cause for worry as this reunion is going to be bloody.

According to the source, “now that Boko Haram has agreed to work with ISWAP, chances are that Boko Haram will not attack civilians again and if they don’t, it means there is going to be a better ISIS and that means they would have strong followership.”

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