The Army has raised the alarm that many repentant Boko Haram fighters are backsliding and subverting the war against the insurgents and bandits.
The Theatre Commander of ‘Operation Hadin Kai’, Maj.-Gen. Christopher Musa, disclosed that ‘repentant’ sect members, who have surrendered to troops have ulterior motive.
It was also learnt that foreign donors are sustaining the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Maj.-Gen. Musa, disclosed that 20,000 insurgents have laid down arms in the Northeast. The Commander, who spoke on the sidelines of the Chief of Army Staff Conference in Abuja, said the new challenge is what to do with the repented terrorists.
He said: “We have over 20,000 combatants and their families surrendered. This tells you there is something we are doing right. What we do with them after surrendering is our next focus. The expectation is that after all have surrendered, then, everything will fizzle out. But, that is not the case.
“Frankly speaking, for us, this is a good development.
“A lot of people have been thinking and also expressing mixed feelings, if at all the news is true. Of course, there are some insurgents who truly wish to surrender, but we cannot jettison the fact that some of them do have ulterior motives.
“Like I said, to us, this is good and if we follow it through in the right way, then, we may begin to see the end of this insurgency sooner than we actually think.”
Gen. Musa explained why the terror group has remained lethal after the death of its leader, Abubakar Shekau.
He said: “Before Shekau died, they (Boko Haram fighters) pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in the West African Province ISWAP and ISWAP gets its funding from foreign donors. It is the lust for these monies that have further emboldened them. This is why they overran Shekau. These people who are enemies of the nation, who do not want peace in Nigeria are the same people pushing ISWAP too. It has nothing to do with religion or any form of ideology, but purely driven by the quest for money.
The theatre commander dismissed the insinuation that the Nigerian military has been outstretched in the course of fighting the insurgents.
He said: “No group can outstretch the Armed Forces of Nigeria. What people need to understand is, we in the military can easily be identified because we put on uniforms. These guys go on mufti and we cannot just go into a community and start killing everybody. If we have to do this, then, this fight would have ended since.
“But, what about the collateral damage on the part of innocent civilians? If we have to shoot, then, we must target the real trouble makers and not just anyone. This is the problem. They mingle among civilians. This is why it has become so difficult. If it is conventional warfare, we would have finished them a long time ago.”