China’s Long March-3B carrier rocket lifts off at the Xichang Satellite Launch
Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, Dec. 20, 2011, successfully sending the US$311 million Nigerian
communication satellite, NIGCOMSAT-1R, into orbit at 00:41 Beijing Time

(Photo Credit: XINHUA)

16 May, 2013

IMAGES from three Nigerian satellites – NigeriaSat-1, NigeriaSat-X, and
NigeriaSat-2- released recently by the
National Space Research Development
Agency (NASRDA) on the extent of
damage caused by Military intervention at Baga, Borno State, have shown
remarkable difference with that
published on April 30, 2013 by the Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Baga is a town in the northeastern
Nigerian state of Borno, close to Lake
Chad, and lying northeast of the town of
Kukawa. The images showed there were burnt scars and building damages mainly in the southern fringe of Baga Town but the area defined is about 54,000sq.m and not 80,000sm2 as claimed by the HRW. The HRW had published a damage assessment of Baga town, which has generated a lot of media reports and reactions. The assessment as it portray,was carried out using satellite imagery of April 6 (pre-violence) and April 26 (post-violence) of in Baga respectively.

But a review of HRW damage assessment with the images from the Nigerian Satellites by Director General of NASRDA,Dr. Seidu O. Mohammed, found the area covered by the fire scars identified as damaged areas by the HRW is about 11,000m2; the satellites detected active fire zones include largely thatched fences and frontages; the 11,000m2 can approximately take three standard football fields(100mx50m); the town is largely a squatter settlement in structure and the building structures are largely traditional types with extensions/
frontages with thatched/mud brick hedges/fences.

The NASRDA review showed that from
the image overlay analysis, the area
(11,000m2) cannot logically house 2,400
damaged buildings with 2,275 destroyed and 125 severely damaged, claimed to be identified in the study area by HRW. The agency also found that going by the above estimate of 2400 damaged buildings, and the actual size of the area with burn scars (equivalent to three standard football fields), it is presumed that 800 buildings exist on a standard football field (5000m2). The review also observed that the estimation of the number of damaged building were about 80 per cent exaggerated, because the process of generating the information was purely a desktop approach and without any ground truthing exercise to validate the time, extent, trend and land use activities; leading to huge misinterpretation of features such as
buildings, trees, fences, open courtyards,
uninhabited plots, etc were counted as same features as building.

The review is titled “Satellite Imagery
Analysis of Baga and Environs, Borno
State, Nigeria.” Mohammed said the aim of the review was to carry out quick look validation of the damage assessment presented by HRW using multi-stage satellite imagery (Image sets used by HRW, NigeriaSat-1, NigeriaSat-X, and NigeriaSat-2 VHRI: 2.5m and 5m);identify some critical technical assumptions in the damage assessment report, leading to HRW spurious findings and conclusions; contrast the most probable damage assessment Baga Town; and advice on the best-practice for handling similar issues in the future.

Mohammed concluded: “It is very true
that images don’t lie, but the
interpretation of features that occur in an area, and captured with scientific
satellites must be interpreted with the
effective ground knowledge (in-situ), history and land use activities for
accurate results. Therefore, due to the
sensitive nature and the security
implication of the violence in Baga and
environs, and Nigeria at large, satellite
imagery must be carefully validated to authenticate the time, pattern, extent,
and land use activities of a disaster area
before publication.”

The HRW had last week presented
evidence in form of satellite images
showing abuse by the Nigerian military
as it clashed with suspected Boko Haram
militants.HRW claimed that 2,275 homes were ruined based on analysed satellite images contrary to the military’s assertion that only 30 houses were destroyed during the raid on Baga on April 16 and 17. HRW urged the Nigerian government to impartially investigate and prosecute soldiers responsible for the Baga debacle.

Africa director at HRW, Daniel Bekele,
said: “The Nigerian military has a duty to protect itself and the population from
Boko Haram attacks, but the evidence
indicates that it engaged more in
destruction than in protection.” There has been claims and counter claims
on the actual number of casualties,
ranging from 25 to 185 people depending on the source of information, but the military said 30, one soldier and six civilians died while a Senior Special Assistant to President, Doyin Okupe told
Channels TV that only 25 people died.

It should be noted that, the following
disclaimer was attached by the HRW to
their desktop findings: “These results are preliminary and are subject to revision or correction pending additional imagery review, new testimony and/or ground verification.”

The Nigerian government has launched five satellites into outer space. Early plan to launch a national satellite in 1976 was not executed. The NigeriaSat-1 was the first Nigerian satellite and built by a United Kingdom-based satellite technology Surrey Space
Technology Limited (SSTL) Company
under the Nigerian government
sponsorship for $30 million. The satellite was launched by Kosmos-3M rocket from Russian Plesetsk spaceport on September 27, 2003. Nigeriasat-1 was
part of the worldwide Disaster
Monitoring Constellation System.

NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X were built as a high-resolution earth
satellite by SSTL for DMC system also. It
has 2.5-metre resolution panchromatic
(very high resolution), 5-metre
multispectral (high resolution, NIR red, green and red bands), and 32-metre
multispectral (medium resolution, NIR
red, green and red bands) antennas. The NigeriaSat-2/X spacecraft was built at a cost of over £35 million (citation needed). This satellite was launched into orbit by Ukrainian Dnepr rocket from a Yasny military base in Russia on 17 August 2011.

NigComSat-1, a Nigerian satellite ordered and built in China in 2004, was Nigeria’s second satellite and Africa’s first communication satellite. It was launched on 13 May 2007, aboard a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China. On November 11, 2008, NigComSat-1 failed in orbit after running out of power due to an anomaly in its solar array. It was based on the Chinese DFH-4 satellite bus and carries a variety of transponders: 4 C-band; 14 Ku-band; 8 Ka- band; and 2 L-band. It was designed to provide coverage to many parts of Africa and the Ka-band transponders would also cover Italy.

However, NigComSat-1R was launched by China on 19 December 2011, to replace the lost NigComSat-1, at no cost to Nigeria.


Nigeria were the first export customer to acquire a Chinese-built satellite and to use its launching service


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies


  1. jimmy says:


  2. Yagazie says:

    WELL DONE – BUT…..We should’nt stop there!! – NASRDA should AS A MATTER OF PRIORIY call a world press conference inviting Al-Jazeera, CNN, BBC (yes – them too), FRANCE 24, CHiNA TV , RUSSIA TV and all foreign correspndents in Nigeria – as well as our local press and present this information with the satellite imagery so as to conclusively rebut the misinformation being put out by HRW.

    We have to ensure that the media angle of the war against this insurgency is told truthfully from our perspective, otherwise other people/organisations with their own sinister agenda will put out false information that paints our millitary/government/country in a bad light.

  3. beegeagle says:

    “You are in order”, Mighty Yagz.

  4. peccavi says:

    Situation Friendly Forces
    Order of Battle
    2 x Alphajets based in YOLA
    Attack Helicopters (Number, type and location unknown)
    Aerial surveillance platforms (Number, type/ location unknown)
    At least 2000 troops (Type/ role/ formations unknown)
    Police Counter Terrorism Squad (Approx 500, Type/ role/ formations unknown)
    • State of Emergency declared in YOBE, ADAMAWA and BORNO STATES as of 14 MAY 2013 by President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (PotFRN)
    • 18.00-06.00 curfew imposed in ADAMAWA STATE
    • Mobile phones not working in YOBE, ADAMAWA & BORNO, networks reportedly shut down as of 0430 15 MAY
    • Nigerian Security Forces (NSF) have begun air-ground operations in the SAMBISA GAME RESERVE in BORNO STATE, supported by AH and ground attack aircraft
    • 1 x NAF aircraft reported damaged by AAA fire
    • NSF are reported to have deployed to border towns of NGALA, MARTE, MAFA and KONDUGA in BORNO bordering CHAD and CAMEROUN and GEIDAM (approx 100 soldiers in Hilux vehicles), GASHUA and YUSUFARI in YOBE bordering NIGER REPUBLIC by 15 MAY. Units reported to be mechanised and supported by armoured vehicles
    • Nigeria Police Force Counter Terrorism Squad (CTS) have been deployed to BORNO and YOBE with approx 500 men in a column of 10-11 vehicles of trucks and luxurious buses
    • IED detonated in MAIDUGURI MONDAY MARKET on 15 MAY. 2 x civpop killed, 1 x civpop wounded
    • Nigeria Red Cross on standby to aid civilians affected by the crisis
    • Explosions and small arms fire heard in DAURA, KATSINA STATE. BH allegedly attacked police station and bank, 5 NSF and 3 BH reported KIA
    Situation Enemy Forces
    Order of Battle: Not known
    • Head of CAN in BORNO STATE, Faye Pama MUSA murdered by suspected Boko Haram insurgents 14 MAY
    • En alleged to be in control of at least 10 LGAs
    • Aliyu TASHAKU an alleged Boko Haram leader gave conditions for peace negotiations
    o Release Boko Haram members
    o No more arrests of Boko Haram
    o Rebuild the sects mosques and members houses
    o Withdrawal of troops from religious centres
    o Once these conditions have been met they will meet with the Amnesty Committee
    • Boko Haram via Aliyu TASHAKU also (for the first time ) claimed responsibility in the incidents in BAGA and BAMA
    • Boko Haram has released videos of kidnapped women and children allegedly taken in retaliation for the arrest of their members wives in KANO, DAMATURU and BAUCHI (
    • En training camps reported to be located in MAFA, MARTE, GOMBORU/ NGALA and the SAMBISA Game Reserve in BORNO STATE bordering CAMEROUN to the east and CHAD to the Northeast and 4 others in YOBE STATE in GUJBA, GEIDAM, GASHUA and YUSUFARI bordering NIGER REPUBLIC to the North
    Situation External Forces
    US and UN condemn terror repeat calls for respect of human rights by all sides
    Initial broadcast by PotFRN indicates diplomatic approaches have been made to neighbouring countries to assist in apprehending fleeing insurgents, no reports of concurrent mobilisation
    Nigerian Minister on Foreign Affairs to brief EU Ministers on State of Emergency in BRUSSELLS, BELGIUM on 16 MAY
    Closing the Door: This offensive will have been pre planned and from the indications follows a reasonably sound pattern. All previous incidents have been in a certain area which as previously noted were an insurgents dream, remote, porous borders with multiple jurisdictions, languages etc. It would appear the NSF has begun by hitting known en locations such as training camps etc. Unless the en is very foolish their casualties from this phase should be quite low as the remoteness should give them enough time to scatter before the assaulting forces can concentrate against them. The curfew in ADAMAWA is interesting as it is comparably benign but the presence of the MAMBILA plateau and other trans national routes would lead one to conclude that escaping BH fighters could loop back and begin operations in the rear of NSF operations, thus the mobile phone shutdown etc seems to be a measure to negate en communications and IED detonations. The strike ops will be successful but they are the easy parts. The en has used AAA weapons this indicates a capability and skill not seen before, it also indicates that rather than dispersing they were fixed and forced to fight, this is good.
    The negatives of this op are as follows. Once the en is pushed out of their areas they will escape across the border into similarly remote areas and reconstitute themselves. Without a matching mobilisation in Niger, Cameroun or Chad this problem will not end. The urban ops will result in large collateral damage and human rights abuses.
    Most likely En course of Action: They will retreat from the targeted areas across state and national borders and return in force with a campaign of urban terrorism and rural intimidation. I suspect they will begin laying IEDs on roads targeting not just government or military vehicles but civilian ones as well so as to reinforce the narrative that the government cannot protect the people. There will be similar attacks with mechanised troops and technical’s but they will gradually reduce as NSF destroys en men and material.
    Worst En Course of Action: BH withdraws in good order into Chad, Niger or Cameroun and reconstitutes. Taking an operational pause they reconstitute their money and supply lines and taking advantage of the massive deployments in the north, restart urban terrorism in the south. Nigeria does not have the combat power to garrison the major southern cities. Due to their cosmopolitan nature infiltration will not be as difficult as it would appear. Once the NSF are stretched dealing with the new wave of urban terrorism, BH columns reappear up north and begin capturing hamlets, using them to launch attacks against the NSF. The NSF being overstretched will respond with heavier and heavier firepower thus causing more collateral damage and civilian casualties, driving more civpop to BH for revenge.
    The NSF will not destroy BH with theis op but they can disrupt and defeat them. This will buy enough operational breathing space for the following tasks
    • Fortify police stations, government buildings and military installations
    • Register all local inhabitants in the Area of operations. Every adult must be registered as a voter with their biometric date recorded. Their addresses must then be logged with GPS and matched to maps and satellite photos and kept on a central database. Vehicles must be linked to the owners trough this data as well as driving licenses.
    • Recruit and train local militias to guard hamlets and villages. Initially unarmed they act as early warning systems for the NSF
    • Establish special courts for terrorism offences and begin processing all the detainees currently in custody, notify relatives of their location and status. This will buy alot of goodwill and also fast track the trial and convictions of those with cases to answer
    • Using the emergency powers begin implementing public works, using local labour, again it buys local goodwill and means local fighting age men are generally too busy working to fight
    • Publish the code of conduct ensure it is given to all troops with commanders at all level responsible for excesses whether on their orders or not and broadcast to the civpop in local languages.
    • Begin preparing police in the North west, middle belt and south for counter terror operations
    • Begin a media campaign focussed on different audience groups such as Nigerians abroad, foreign Muslims, western powers, African powers, northerners, people in the affected areas and the enemy. There must be a central narrative but tweaked slightly to suit each group and in the relevant languages. Key are Hausa, Arabic, French, English, Kanuri
    Hostages: very little has been said about the alleged hostages feature in the latest BH video release. If this is the reality it vindicates the previous analysis that BH/ Ansaru has seen the benefits of hostage taking as a revenue/ publicity gaining enterprise. However one wonders how much they have factored in the general indifference of Nigerian authorities to the case of non VIP hostages. Unless these women and children are related to VIPs it is unlikely there will be much of a response.

    • jimmy says:

      This is very , very good.
      I WANT TO APPEAL TO THE F.G about one of the most important things about this campaign it can not be about guns and bombs only lay the groundwork for registration of able bodied men over the age of 16 that are unemployed. They can be used to do two very important things
      1) Use them initially after registration to rebuild the (a) The police stations as fortified police stations ( stage 1) (b) The local govt offices that have been burnt down this becomes a symbol of civic pride ( stage 2) (c) The prisons at BAGA OR BAMA ( I forget which ) should be rebuilt and fortified by the f.g. all the UNSKILLED LABOR as a mandatory requirement should be rebuilt by the residents of baga/ bama who have registered with the local govt in that area
      2). This must be a Nigerian solution applied to a Nigerian problem.The prime contractor must be based in Borno . If there are none they need to find one. When men are busy doing back breaking work and getting paid they don’t have time to fight.
      3) It is absolutely mandatory that the prison and BAGA/ BAMA BE REBUILT with LOCAL LABOR.
      4). This is not appeasement this is common sense.Every male over the age of 15 must be registered Nigerian or especially NON Nigerian give the privates/ corporals / seargent
      camera phones to take pictures when house to house search are going on in these remote areas.

  5. beegeagle says:

    Nice one, Peccavi. Well done.

    Perhaps if you copied and posted this on the fastmoving thread “STATE OF EMERGENCY”, it would stimulate lively debate. It is rolling five times faster than this thread. Besides, our Ogas at the top are keenly following that thread.

  6. ifiok umoeka says:

    Brothers, I’ve been away 4 too long, my best friend jst got married and I was wedding planner and event manager. My oga piccavi, top scores on this one, I roger what gen beegs has said. Put it out there. I totally agree. On the sat angle, I wish we can argument with long endurance surveillance planes. I think we have one or so covering the coast on maritime recon. Add one or two more so we have the north also cover especially while this operation continues

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