Sunday, 18 Sep 2011
The Federal Government is planning to launch joint military operations with countries in the Chad Basin as a solution to the armed insurgency of Boko Haram, the Islamic militant sect that has claimed responsibility for the serial bombings in the North.
Besides Nigeria, other countries in the Chad Basin are Chad, Niger and Cameroun.
Intelligence reports in the past weeks have confirmed that members of the sect have training camps in the deserts of Chad and Niger Republic where they receive terrorism training from the dreaded al-Qaeda sect. Also, some of the Boko Haram suspects in police custody have been identified as nationals of Niger.
SUNDAY PUNCH authoritatively gathered that some of the soldiers for the joint military operations into the Sahara desert are currently part of the Joint Task Force in Maiduguri, where the Boko Haram sect has carried out most of their attacks.
A highly placed intelligence source said the Federal Government had approved the collaboration with both countries for effective intelligence gathering, adding that it was crucial in finding solution to the Boko Haram security menace.
The source said, “You will recall that some members of the sect that are currently being tried are from the Niger Republic. While performing our own functions, we need the assistance of our neigbours to fight the menace.”According to him, the terms of operation of the joint military operations will soon be finalised.
SUNDAY PUNCH further learnt that a meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Staff of the countries in the West African sub-region had been called to deliberate on international terrorism and the worsening security situation in Nigeria, which climaxed in the bombing of the UN building in Abuja on August 26, 2011.
The Director of Information at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, Col. Mohammed Yerima, when contacted on the telephone, said the Chief of Defence Staff would address the press on the issue at the appropriate time.
Yerima said, “The Chief of Defence Staff has the right to plan his operations and he will address the press at the appropriate time.
“The only thing I can tell you is that this thing involves all the agencies, which are collaborating to guarantee security in the society. The Customs, the Immigration, the SSS, every group must play their roles effectively.”
Apart from the huge regional attention given to upsurge of terrorist activities in Nigeria, the Military High Command had reached an agreement with the United Nations for a possible collaboration on the matter.
Also, another intelligence source said that the State Security Service was making preparations to establish “a full directorate for border security in the country.”
The source explained, “The SSS is increasing its activities at the nation’s borders. They are checking the borders to prevent questionable characters from moving into the country.
“Another thing is that they are deploying more operatives to the border; they are also working hand in hand with security agents from border countries.
“Those working at the borders are under the Transport Control Unit; they are most likely to have a directorate for border patrol with all these developments. It has been on for some time now and with this development; they may come up with it.”
Earlier, the Minister of Information and Orientation, Mr. Labaran Maku, in an interview in Abuja, confirmed that a lot of security surveillance was going on with heavy deployment of troops in some of the hot areas.