Nigerian Army Special Operations Forces


19 January, 2014

The Nigerian Army, in a bid to transform into a force better able to tackle the contemporary security challenges, has declared its commitment towards sustained training of its officers in asymmetrical warfare.

The Chief of Transformation and Innovation Major-General Ibrahim Sani, stated this yesterday in Abuja at the close of a workshop on Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism (CT COIN), organised by the Nigerian Army Special Operations Command-Africa (NASOC) and United States Special Operations Command-Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism.

Sani noted that effective human resource development orchestrated on the wheels of professional competence was fundamental to overcoming security challenges He said the Army drive towards dealing with these challenges was therefore grounded on effective training backed with adequate tools for the achievement of the mission.

He said: “This is not unconnected with the fact that the complexities of contemporary globalisation and asymmetric threats today require continuous training and effective leadership. I am therefore happy with the involvement of our strategic partners in our training at this time.”

Sani said the lectures and interactive sessions were revealing, inclusive, educating and thought provoking. He explained that the lessons learnt from the experiences in various theatres of operations across the world as expressed during the workshop would be valuable in the Army’s effort to defeat insurgency and terrorism in the country.

He told the participants that the knowledge and techniques acquired by them were indispensable tools in whatever roles they may be called upon to play in their line of duty. “I urge you all to be agents of positive change in our drive towards defeating terrorism”, he added.

Also speaking, the Commander, US Special Operation Command Africa, General James Linder, said the US was able to bring lessons learnt and gathered for many years to share with partners in Nigeria Military.

Linder said the workshop was very engaging as the US participants learnt much from the seminar as those who were receiving the briefings and instructions. “We were able to give wide expanse on our lessons learnt and we were very encouraged with the level of dialogue and look forward to continue to the end”, he said.


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. ifiok umoeka says:

    Impressive! I remember that some time ago, the Americans also came 2 us 2 share our experiences gained from our operations of the 90s! These exchanges are great as we get 2 learn without paying what the ‘experiencer’ if u like paid when they passed through it!
    Then again, I hope we don’t depend on the Americans alone, I hope we exchange with the Israelis, Russians, Indians etc on their experiences too. Moreover, overtime, I hope we get involved in those annual (or is it biannual) SF type competitions not for the competitions per se but 2 interact with other operators and reap where we didn’t sow! Kudos

  2. rka says:

    Lets hope there is no let up in training soldiers to enable them tackle contemporary security challenges.

    Warfare at the moment is changing, so we need to keep abreast of latest developments and adapt accordingly and the Army seems to be on course.

    We must not though neglect conventional warfare because the tide can easily turn again and we should have learnt our lesson by now and make sure we are properly equipped to deal with whatever is thrown in front of our Armed Forces.

  3. peccavi says:

    This is a good development but Naija must open eye. we need to be clear and define the terms of the relationship. We don’t want to be like Mali with the tick box training that produces ‘run away soldies’. Likewise we don’t need to be sold complex and unsuitable procedures and equipment.
    This is a low tech and fairly unsophisticated insurgency (at the tactical and operational level) and revolves around good basic COIN.
    Maybe it is just my personal preference but nothing will defeat bH other than air supported light infantry, dominating the ground and closing with the enemy

  4. asorockweb says:

    “— nothing will defeat bH other than air supported light infantry, dominating the ground and closing with the enemy”


    Unless NASOC has units with their own dedicated helicopters and pilots, then these “new” special Operators will only be effective against raids on BH’s well known camps. Another alternative approach would be a version of the SAS’s Mobility troop or the WWII era LRDG.

    BUT, if you are taking out BH’s well known camps, then all you need is light infantry and CAS.

  5. ugobassey says:

    I completely agree with the air supported infantry solution and would like to add; a well grounded intelligence gathering. It goes without saying that the key to effective COIN and CT is how much intelligence is available. To that end I would humbly advocate that SSS, DMI, NIA, Police and Immigration should have or set up a central gathering system for processing and sharing all intelligence.

  6. Are James says:

    I actually favour ‘black operations’ kind of actions from inside Cameroun and Chad. Not merely chasing BH across the border but troops in mufti embedded in the villages and local administrative institutions in those countries combing the forests, tracking, harassing and killing the terrorists.
    These troops cannot be from the regular army and like the CIA black ops, their methods would range from controversial to highly illegal but it is a good way to confuse, confound and contain the terrorists. For once the BH would be on the defensive as self doubt, mutual suspicion and fear of an unknown enemy paralyses their operations.
    The only institutions that can set up these cells are the NIA and SSS with training and ‘contingency back up’ provided by the NASOC.

    • Akin Oges says:

      I like this “black operation” suggestion. The enemy must be convinced that the Nigerian State can do dirty in the mud; gore and all. The only langauge they understand is ferocious violence. The only strength they respect is overwhelming shocking force. Nothing more.

  7. rka says:

    What makes you think black op style operations aren’t happening already in the NE and Cameroon?

    I have said it before, we are not privy to what is going on most of the time. Not all operations against BH are advertised.

  8. Are James says:

    You may be right. I have had Cameroonian colleagues at work years ago regale me with interesting stories of suspected Nigerian espionage activity and spies in Yaounde & South Cameron around the period of the Bakassi issue.
    However, chasing terrorists like BH using BO methods is particularly dirty, calling upon a particular character type that you don’t normally recruit into an army.You have to build confidence, penetrate, form relationships and then betray and kill. Sometimes you sacrifice the lives of informants.
    Doing it any other way does not work, recall that the SSS lost men and women by assassinations and beheading within Nigeria in 2012/2013 due to shoddy and shallow intelligence work.
    Like you hinted at however, there are probably many undercover actions taking place that are not ‘advertised’ .

  9. peccavi says:

    Intelligence is integral, however I don’t see the need for ‘black ops’.
    If one is defending the state and rule of law then one must uphold the rule of law, we have more than enough tricks in our pockets without doing nasty stuff.
    Special Forces on long rang deep patrols calling in air, artillery strikes and air assaulting infantry. Infantry patrols, FOBs and bases in the combat zone. Intelligence operatives setting up dummy sales, infiltration of the groups etc. All legal and effective

    • rka says:

      Oga Peccavi, I know where you are coming from, but there is also need for Spec ops when appropriate and BH fight dirty. What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.

      The British SAS/SBS and Mi6 are no saints o! lol.

      • rka says:

        need for black ops…

      • peccavi says:

        True enough but I really want Nigeria to do the right thing.
        We can defeat the enemy without illegalities.
        Unless of course we just want to make the sponsors ‘disappear’ in that case my scruples will go and chill

  10. Henry says:

    Nigerian special forces already do that. it’s been reported multiple times of S.F infiltration and calling in air/artillery strikes. I remember in the early weeks of the SoE, artillery fire came in using coordinates provided by special forces in the field.

    The video the DSS released showing a critically wounded Shekau lying on a hospital bed, was gotten obviously by a DSS mole in the group. There is a lot that is being done that we aren’t privy to. We are not media savvy in Nigeria, especially our armed services. Unlike say, the South Africans or Europeans/ Americans.

    It’s a pity the UAV pilot did not answer your questions as to whether ” the operators were trained to call in air/ artillery strikes?”

  11. igbi says:

    I am happy to admit that I made a mistake. It seems the armed forces new chiefs are much better than the previous ones (thank you lord):

    Nigeria’s top military officer on Monday called for a swift end to the Islamist insurgency gripping the country’s north, as he was sworn in as the new chief of defense staff.

    “The security situation in the northeast must be brought to a complete stop before April 2014,” Air Marshall Alex Badeh said after his investiture ceremony in the capital, Abuja.

    Badeh, whose home state Adamawa is one of three in Nigeria’s northeast to have been under emergency rule since last May, set the April deadline to avoid what he said were “constitutional problems.”

    “We don’t want to go back to the (upper chamber of parliament) Senate to go and start begging and lobbying (for an extension to emergency rule),” he added.

    “If we do our work cohesively, I can tell you, we will finish that thing (the counter-insurgency) in no time.”

    Boko Haram have been fighting a drawn-out insurgency since 2009 in the mainly Muslim north, attacking schools teaching a “Western” curriculum and churches and claiming thousands of lives.

    The group, which is considered an international terrorist organization by the United States, wants to create an Islamic state in the north.

    Badeh replaced Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, who headed the military from 2012 and who was sacked with the three other heads of the country’s armed forces last Thursday.

    Two days earlier, suspected Boko Haram insurgents detonated a car bomb in a crowded market in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, killing at least 19 and wounding scores more.

    In December, Maiduguri, which is considered the group’s spiritual home, was also the scene of a daring early morning raid on military installations near the city’s airport.

    President Goodluck Jonathan did not explain his reasons for replacing the top brass but there have been suggestions that he was dissatisfied with their performance.

    Badeh, 57, said he was pleased that the three new army, navy and air force chiefs had already met to discuss the issue and that it would make for a joined-up approach to the threat.

    “If three of you have already met even before the takeover, then we have achieved everything. I can only say that this thing is already won,” he said.

    The former chief of army staff, Lt General Azubuike Ihejirika, said as he stepped down that during his tenure, Nigeria had introduced the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.

    “I want to say very soon, the Nigerian Army, under the able leadership of our new chief of army staff, Major General Kenneth Minimah, there will be no hiding place for terrorists,” he added.

    Emergency rule has largely succeeded in pushing the militants out of towns and cities in the wider north but attacks are still frequent in more remote areas, particularly in border regions.

    • asorockweb says:

      How ironic.
      April 1st is April fool’s day.

      He picked the wrong month.
      All BH has to do is lie low and then find a school to attack on the 1st of April.

      BH will be around for years, but their ability to kill and maim can be drastically reduced.

  12. Are James says:

    ……meanwhile the departing COAS Ihejirika casually let it slip in his departure speech that he has bought such a large number of battle field UAVs that all BH hideouts would be lighted up for a series of divisive blows before April.
    Three questions;
    1.Why don’t things these acquisitions ever show up in the budget?.
    2. The Nigerian military had the wherewithal to finish this BH business months ago which they did not, why the sudden urgency to finish them up now?
    3. With the revelations that the new service chiefs had met even before the handover ceremony, why does one get the impression as happened during the ND crisis that the military deliberately prolongs these internal conflicts for their own aggrandizement (promotions, training, procurement and some…. #@$%!)

    • peccavi says:

      UAV’s are useful but you need to ability to deliver hammer punches, quickly, so its all about helicopters as well, pinpoint the enemy, drop a recce team near by to identify targets follow up with a rapid heli assault, with attack helicopters in fire support.

      A rolling campaign across NE Nigeria and northern Cameroun will push the remnants into Chad and Niger

  13. ifiok umoeka says:

    My Oga, are we not saying the same thing now!

    • peccavi says:

      In general yes, but una sabi say I too like talk at times!
      But the main point was that we should not fall into the trap of relying on UAVs, cameras, or other remote sensors to the detriment of actually sending people forward to observe the enemy

  14. ifiok umoeka says:

    Eye to eye on that my brother

  15. ifiok umoeka says:

    The tool is an extension of the soldier not his replacement

  16. Tope says:

    While we might say UAVs are not replacement, they are actually reconnaissance replacements and these silent birds observe and relay real time info of enemy bases, allowing SF chaps to study comings and goings of the enemy!

    I don’t see the need for sending our boys on suicide missions, trained or otherwise. Let’s make modern combat all about it. What if unknown to the Army u have a 100-man guerrilla unit on standby wielding AAs and they launch attacks and helis are shot down? See how important it is to have a UAV present and moreso it can provide back up if none is present, with the attack helos it helps in enemy fire suppression.

    Another reason why these UAVs need to be in the field ASAP, besides if we find a location that they are in caves I would suggest we send a drone and bury them and then u can send in reinforcements to do mop up! That’s more effective than going for a frontal attack that always ends up with both sides losing men and equipment!

    We need to crush BH before it becomes too late, if CAR is anytin to go by a lot of disgruntled soldiers will leave that country and head towards the Sahel or Maghreb regions and we would be facing al-Qaeda or Hezbollah-style guerilla fighters which have proven even difficult for the USA and Israel to quash, talk less of Nigeria.

  17. Tope says:

    As for the Military Spending that’s something dat we need to dissect, first of all dis UAVs could be part of the Security Votes, or Even Extra Budgetary provisions we wouldn’t know! But if da Army can spring surprises den da Airforce can also! We look forward to that day.

    NIMASA and NPA, Ministry of Agriculture are all funding the Navy in one capacity or the other so its Safe to say similar partnerships Exist btw the army and other agencies.

    As for the 3 Chiefs meeting it shows dey must have known they were selected and hence have been planning or doing a Synergy plan wich makes Sense let’s see if it Extends to da NSA, SSS, NIA, DIA, MDI, CDS and Ministry of Defence, going by Badeh’s Statements we expect a MAJOR Attack planned by the Armed Forces wich I’m sure da 15 planned Helos will play a role in

  18. Oje says:

    The Nigerian Press sucks at patriotic coverage. Do you guys realize that Nigeria is the only country bar the U.S.A that has successfully independently contained an extremist group, chasing them outside the border and even taking them out in foreign territory. Just 15 men armed with AK47s killed over 60 people in a raid that took hours. The Kenyan military as we know was clueless, thank God for the Isreali and British Commandos the siege was broken. Now Boko Haram is 20,000 strong with military hardware more sophisticated than those of most West African States, yet after 3 years Boko Haram cannot even call one square ft of land in Nigeria its own, economic activities have in no way been affected. Fast foward Al Shahab in Somalia, or Mali that required an international coalition led by superpower wannabe France, or the CAR…

    While constructive critism is welcomed let us for once give credit to the valiant men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces, yes there is a lot to be desired but the security and economy of this great nation is by no means threatened.

    • peccavi says:

      When did the USA successfully contain an insurgency?
      I can only think of one insurgency that the US has helped contain and it was one in which they didn’t go in full throttle

    • Akin Oges says:

      I argued this same point on a different platform. Regardless of some crying faults identified and fleshed out on this forum, the security outfits have put in sweat and blood to deserve a pat on the back. Apparently there are many more efforts going into this fight against the madness that don’t come to light; Oga Beeg actually alluded to the possibility that the UAVs the outgoing Army chief spoke about may have been deployed in theatre since 2011. Whaoo… This Army can keep secret sha. It is reassuring that there are men and women who routinely keep vigil through the night, pin-down in God forsaken dumps or have turned cattle herders; their sacrifices are the currencies that guarantees our collective security. They put their lives out to keep this nation together. To these individuals, I salute your courage.

  19. Oje says:

    There has not been an attack on the U.S homeland in 12 years, that’s not luck, believe me they do try.

    • peccavi says:

      The US is a continent, with single border friendly neighbours to the North and South. Not saying they have not tried but they have not faced insurgency like the Russians, British or any other major country.
      Every insurgency the US has directly involved itself in has gone the way of the other side. They are not geared up for the hard, cynical type of operations and behaviours that true COIN needs

    • jimmy says:

      That is not correct there was an attack on the us homeland less than two years ago on one of the oldest cities Boston. T-Mobile. America’s First Nationwide 4G Network

  20. Oje says:

    What are you talking about lol? Al Qeada declared war on the United States 13 years ago. Fast forward today, despite fierce fighting the Taliban has never regained power, America’s puppet Hamid Karzai is still president,, OBL is dead, his second in command is dead, its top leaders killed by drone strikes with increasing regularity, its leadership structure decapitated…. and despite 13 years of fighting the death toll for U.S forces in A-STAN is barely 5000 people, the Soviet Union suffererd 26,000 dead in its 8 year adventure in A-Stan despite not having to rein in a robust logistic platform like America would have to do. All Russia had to do was cross the border.

    • peccavi says:

      Al Qaeda is not the Taliban. The Taliban is a Pashtun religious movement not an international terrorist group. Afghanistan nor Afghanis have ever attacked the US or in fact any country except a brief war with Pakistan and British India. they are too busy fighting each other or invaders.
      So there is no relevance. I am not deriding the US counter terrorism effort, I am pointing out that they have never faced a determined terror campaign or internal insurgency. The US has not had to deal with a terror campaign like the UK, Spain, Greece, Colombia etc Or an indigenous insurgency like in Colombia, Sri Lanka or any other number of countries. My point is they are not the best example of successful COIN. They have not won a single COIN campaign much less a COIN war. Britain, Portugal, France, Colombia, Brazil, South Africa, Rhodesia etc have all had successful campaigns, I think only Britain has actually won at the end (in Malaya and Cyprus)

  21. ifiok umoeka says:

    I believe that Oga Peccavi wasn’t arguing against drone, off course I wasn’t either, I’m sure u know that!

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