(Photo credit:AFP)

10 May, 2013

* the documentary was entitled “The Baga Story” and was produced by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs. It commenced at exactly 2200hrs Nigerian Time(GMT+1) and lasted for about twenty five minutes.

* the video was shot 24th-25th April,2013 while the battle took place 16-17 April,2013

* featured in the video were Major General Lawrence Ngubane, CTOP Defence HQ, Brig General Austin Edokpayi, Commander MJTF and Brig Gen Chris Olukolade, Director of Defence Information

* the crew travelled extensively around the town and showed large tracts which were unscathed while the incidence of burnt houses beside standing ones suggested that heavy weapons might have knocked down some of the buildings

* lots of troops, masked Special Forces commandos, 4WD patrol vans and the odd Otokar Cobra APC were clearly visible in the video.

* the Chairman of Kukawa LGA, Alhaji Konne and the District Head of Baga, Dr Zanna moved round the twon with the generals interviewing locals. Both men stated repeatedly that they were not aware of the presence of any mass graves. There was a lot of human and vehicular traffic noticeable in the video, suggesting that the people are gradually going back to their daily activities. The town is not nearly deserted and the impression of whole streets burned down created in some sections of the global media was perhaps another case of a panic button pushed

* Konne interrogated one volunteer worker who claimed to know where about twenty persons were buried but he said he did not partake in the funerals

* another volunteer who partook in the burials said there were no mass graves since that was against their religious and cultural norms and that he participated in the burial of 16 bodies shortly after 10 bodies had been buried in the same general area – the southern cemetery which was an open expanse of sahelian landscape.

* the generals and leaders were taken to a spot where 25 terrorists who fell in battle were buried by the locals but not in any mass grave(s)

* some of the locals perished when they fell into the Baga Fish Dam during the exchange of fire and the ensuing stampede

* excerpts of a report by Yvonne Ndege of Al Jazeera TV were incorporated into the video. In the clip, she affirmed that she did not see any mass graves and only saw a site where about 20 terrorists were buried separately. She also interviewed a local woman who claimed that the terrorists it was who burnt her home and that this was standard practice for the terrorists whenever they attacked the community

* Baga had a population of 32, 828 persons at the time of the 2006 census while all of Kukawa LG of which Baga is a part, plays host to about 40,000 housing units.

* the terrorists had sacked a school and converted it to their HQ, setting up roadblocks and collecting illegal taxes from locals. The school has been retaken by the MJTF and the terrorists chased out of the town.

* the MTJF Commander, General Edokpayi said that when he asked his Intelligence Officer to carry out a battle damage assessment, he reported the destruction of 150 houses.

* the Operations Officer, Lt Colonel Okochi who was interviewed gave the impression that the fighting took place in the dark. He spoke of his involvement in a patrol where they used halogen lamps and their encounter with the terrorists started while they were doing their routine “friend or foe” drill. According to him, the terrorists responded with bursts of gunfire and began to shout “muje, muje!”(Hausa for ‘let’s go), indicating the commencement of their attack. Thereafter, all hell broke loose as the troops struggled to avoid collateral damage in the difficult circumstance.

* addressing troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force at Baga, the Chief of Training and Operations, Defence Headquarters, General Lawrence Ngubane charged the troops to adhere strictly to the rules of engagement and to be mindful of the fact that their activities are open to scrutiny by the outside world, thanks to satellite imagery.

* the Commander MJTF, General Edokpayi, though a native of Edo State which is located about 1,500 kilometres away by road from Baga, actually interrogated some of the locals in the Hausa language and sometimes acted as translator for the CTOP – DHQ, General Ngubane.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. I only watch the documentary because i stumbled on it by happenstance….Good move by the government though i wondered how many persons will be up by 10pm to get to watch the documentary? I hope the documentary will be aired beyond yesterday and at peak viewing time!

  2. beegeagle says:

    Yeah, I thought a better way of doing it would have been to announce that NTA News would be an extended edition and on the stroke of 21:30hrs, the news would take a break for the Baga tape to roll.

    Thereafter, the second part of the news would play out. The midweek edition of NTA News after all, also runs from 2100hrs to 2230hrs.

    Good collabo between Dr Okupe’s office and the Directorate of Defence Information. Sustain.

  3. Blackrev says:

    Is there any way i get see the video online? Kinda missed it. Do you have a link?

  4. tim says:

    Oga beegeagle, check your inbox

  5. Henry says:

    Oga beeg, thanks.

  6. peccavi says:

    I’ve said before and will say again slowly but surely the NA seems to be making the structural and procedural changes that will make the Nigerian Army an extremely professional force.
    Things are far from perfect and a little rough around the edges but with the way training and organisations are being modified it shows long term strategic thinking by the military. This is an example of it, its late in coming out, possibly clumsy and not properly aimed at the relevant audiences but its a good start. A version dubbed in Hausa or Kanuri should also be aired but at a more family friendly hour and a concerted effort to get foreign correspondents out to Baga and give them a clear credible message so we don’t lose the battle abroad as well.

    Credit where it is due though, this adds to the number of things I think the Army is doing and doing well

  7. Number one says:

    AIT did a re-run early this morning.

  8. a useful insight into our troops COINT training of our troops. Courtesy BBC

    • Oga beeg ,Oga Peccavi other Generals in the house what can we make of the training?

      • peccavi says:

        Bros just looked at a few minutes of it, and unless there are some surprises in it that is a textbook example of what any psyops or media ops report should be about. Just briefly
        !) The reporter is obviously open minded and sympathetic/ nostalgic about Nigeria from family links
        2) Human interest. The use of the young Private as a narrative theme gives us something we can all relate to
        3) Training looks good and it looks sexy in the report, the boys look well equipped, cheerful and professional
        4) All sides of the story are given so it doesn’t look like propaganda.

        To get that much access it can only have gone through the Nigerian MOD/ AHQ. Whoever was the media ops officer for this, deserves a promotion. THe Nigeria High Commission in London needs to organise road shows based on these kind of reports.

  9. ocelot2006 says:

    ‘got to watch the documentary. PLEASE there is need to replace the military’s soft-skinned hilux SUVs with MRAPs.

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