Nigerian Army troops prepare to deploy for operations in Borno

LAGOS, March 1 (Xinhua)

Nigerian troops killed 13 Boko Haram members and arrested 15 others during a raid on their makeshift camp between two northeastern states suffering most from the Islamist group’s attacks, a defense official said Friday.

“Many terrorists have been arrested, while 13 of them died following a raid on their makeshift camp”, Major General Chris Olukolade said in a statement, adding that some of those escaping from earlier raid have also been captured in Maiduguri and surrounding areas. The offensive came after suspected Boko Haram militants shot or burned to death dozens of students at a boarding school in Yobe state.

Boko Haram, declared a terrorist
organization by Nigeria and the United
States, has said it is fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north. It launched bouts of attacks in the country’s northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, claiming more than 400 lives in the past three months. The insurgents have in the past targeted churches, security facilities, schools and villages, causing heavy civilian casualties.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the three states last year in an attempt to curb the insurgency.


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. triggah says:

    It bothers me a lot that the enemy still have and operate basecamps on Nigeria’s soil.

    • giles says:

      pls let dem leave d civilians alone,let dem face d politician who are causing all dis mess

    • doziex says:

      Yeah oga rka we all know that an odi like scotched earth policy of indiscriminate fire power will only kill more civillians.

      But this the trap the conventionally trained armies usually fall into.
      Such statements, also betray the level of frustration in the NA.
      What comes naturally to a conventional soldier, is a mistake in the world of counterinsurgency.
      NA has reached an impasse, it’s time for fresh eyes, it’s time for the advisers.

  2. Eeben says:

    My heart bleeds every time I read about the violence and bloodshed in your great country. The attacking and murdering of civilians is a cowardly act of immense proportions but BH are doing it to erode political and national will and to cow the populace to support them.
    I pray the politicians and military men will find a way to resolve this issue and allow you to stand tall in Africa.
    However, I ask you to be wary of those who claim to be your friends but who are in fact simply seeking to expand their influence and add to their access to resources – at your expense.
    Rgds and best wishes.

    • Oje says:

      Nice one Eeben. Most people do not realize that Boko Haramis on the verge of total, if the Nigeria military or intelligence service are aware of this fact it will propel the military to launch blitzkreig style account to end this menace. You know its a lost cause when Boko Haram spend millions of hard currency on Civilian population and schools, but with nonexistent strategic gains, it just doesn’t add up in the economic sense. Killing innocent women, men and students then rather that consolidate its attack run back to Cameroon. Foreign powers like France will be more than happy to see the “Nigerian menace” split or embroid in a civil war.

      • Eeben says:

        Oje, you may recall some months ago I said that the prize was not Mali but Nigeria. I still maintain that belief and the more I see what is happening, the more I am convinced of that.
        I wish African governments would realise that tactics without strategy is an exercise in futility. The armed forces cannot “fix” an unrealistic or non-existent national strategy. All the training and equipment in the world will be of no value if there is no end state.
        But, could it not be that there is a foreign-driven strategy to split Nigeria in two? We know what is happening in Libya, CAR, DRC, Mali – why do we think Nigeria will be different?
        Insofar as advice and training is concerned, I will say what I have said before: If you want to train a champion boxer, you get a trainer who has won all his fights. Pray tell me who has won what recently – and where?
        Finally, do not think that all of these foreign governments who want to “help” are here because they love Africans…

  3. startrek says:

    how about that my ogas…. thats wisdom comin from an old war horse.

  4. rka says:

    Well said Eeben, we need more strategic thinkers like you.

  5. jimmy says:

    LIKE I HAVE said before and Oga Eeben has confirmed it .Nigerians have to solve this problem.

  6. doziex says:

    Eeben glad to hear from you.
    You know what the solution looks like, I believe I know what it is too.
    You asked, who has recently won a championship fight ?

    Well the past is prologue.
    I wonder if you still have any contacts in the nigerian establishment, or if you could post some contact information.
    Any blogger motivated by national pride, I can assure you it is missplaced, unless you intend to guarantee that our children wouldn’t be slaughtered.

    For years the UPDF tried but could not protect their childred from being abducted and brutalized by Joseph Kony.
    UPDF has accepted mentoring and training, and has presided over Amisom a rare counterinsurgency win for african troops.
    Nigerian army too must be receptive to advise and mentorship.

    Col. Eeben is a proven player in this game.
    With civilians being slaughtered en mass, we have run out of time for empty promises and declarations.
    All actions henceforth, must be deliberate, sober and effective.

    • Eeben says:

      Doziex, we (STTEP) trained the UPDF’s Special Operations Group (SOG) and I deployed with them into S Sudan, DRC and CAR. They had almost immediate success and the LRA was put to flight. As soon as the SOG started having success, pressure was put on both the Sponsor of the training and the UPDF to get rid of us. We found that VERY strange and indeed have come to realise that some foreign governments want the LRA to continue as it gives them an excuse to “advise, assist and mentor” whilst keeping close watch on the resources they wish to claim.
      I believe our resources will remain our curse until we start taking a long hard look at our national and security strategies. Until that time, we will remain the recipients of bad advice and the dumping ground for obsolete equipment.

      • bigbrovar says:

        Oga Eeben.. I have been canvassing here time without number on the need for a strategic approach in dealing with BH, Tactical success without a winning strategy is meaningless and only gives an advantage to the enemy. Unfortunately we seem distracted by the need to throw money on the problem when in fact we should set down, think and devise a strategic response to this issue.

      • Eeben says:

        You are correct in your approach bigbrovar. Whereas money is important to sustain a conflict or war, throwing money at the wrong things is a recipe for disaster. Tactical successes can still result in a strategic defeat. We learnt that in the old SADF. That was why we at EO/STTEP changed the approach to ensure that our tactical successes result in strategic victory. But, it all starts with a sound, realistic and sustainable strategy.

  7. rka says:

    The operation carries on with air and land patrols;

  8. Can Boko Haram be seen as being sponsored by some foreign Govt to recolonise Nigeria(W/Africa)?

    • Eeben says:

      I doubt that optimusprime007. What is obvious to me though is that they are being given foreign support and the mission BH seem to have at the moment is destabelisation and terror. How this is part their overall strategy, only intelligence access into BH would tell.

      • Eeben says:

        I agree with peccavi. However, all intelligence agencies are known to use rebels forces when it suits their agendas and policies but I don’t believe they are a CIA creation.

      • Oga peccavi, there are so many dots which needs to be dotted in that article. Some facts pointed out proves (to an extent) that there has to be some form of western influence(I dont know which country yet) in this conflict(for some form of gain i presume). We cant just write it off as bullshit. Let someone play the 10th man, looking, searching for facts and information that would prove it true. All warfare is based on deception…as we are told by a proven warrior. Someone is not comfortable with Nigeria…that is a FACT. But Who?
        Field Marshall Eben,i dont doubt your belief(sams as Pecavvi’s), but i still have serious doubts as i have not seen any evidence disproving their involvement.

  9. peccavi says:

    Oga Eeben, welcome back. Nice (and cheeky) analogy in reference to recent wins and losses. But operational success (as you well know) does not translate to optimal strategic outcomes.
    But at least in the case of RSA, Portugal, Rhodesia etc there was at least some sort of strategic objective, with operational factors tailored to achieve it and tactics derived to sustain it.
    Nigeria is not winning and has lost the initiative because we have no strategy.
    The bog standard solution is ‘unleash the troops’, ‘buy more kit’ as if the Nigerian Army is known for wearing kids gloves or the scorched earth tactics have ever worked anywhere recently.

    Until we actually understand the enemy and define our strategic objectives and are ready to pay the price we will not win.

    The price is not the cost of a tank or helicopter or fighter jet, it is being able to have the political nous to eradicate those at the top who benefit from the chaos.
    The operational and tactical has already been written. South Africa learnt and adapted from Rhodesia who learnt and adapted from the Portuguese who learnt and adapted from the British and French.
    Each of these at the time were in your analogy, Championship trainers operationally, yet of all of these only the British can claim strategic success (in Malaya) and that was because they were fighting an alien ideological enemy that preyed on a minority of the indigenous population by perverting a legitimate grievance (sound familiar?) and they attacked not just the enemy but defended the population.
    SO if Nigeria wishes to achieve tactical success, in a few engagements and have beautiful, well kitted soldiers with expensive unworkable kit we need to go with the US. If we want to achieve a few operational success and a maintain a level of violence we should go with the Israelis. If we want to get a tiny of amount of good quality training that is patchy and generally is only useful to a small number go with the UK.

    However if we want to win, defeat and destroy the enemy in the North east, secure our borders, and prevent further internal struggles, we need to look inwards and completely reimagine this campaign

    • Eeben says:

      Thanks for the welcome, Peccavi.
      Yes, I am fully aware that operational success does not necessarily translate into strategic gains and success. It never can if (1) a national strategy is lacking and (2) the political and national will is not what it should be. If there is no national strategy, then there is equally no national security strategy.
      Throwing money, troops and technology at a problem is no answer and, as recent experiences in the ME and North Africa prove, it has worked nowhere. One needs to go back to the very basic understanding and reasoning of why insurgencies start in the first place.
      You are correct: You need to understand the enemy. If you do not have intelligence access (agents and sources) you will never understand the enemy totally. Also, the longer you fight an enemy, the more chance you give him of knowing you and how you will react and respond – and you actually are teaching him how to fight.
      Although I disagree on your thoughts of “who” should train the Army, I fully agree that you need to look inwards. There are many factors that will come to the fore such as the organisation of the forces, the Area of Operations, the Operational environment, terrain, the enemy etc, etc. These are factors that whilst seemingly obvious, are often overlooked. But that looking inward should begin with a comprehensive, credible and realistic national strategy that the populace buy in to. That will give rise, guidance and alignment to your national security strategy. After all, your military strategy is part of the national security strategy.
      The bottom line is that BH is posing a threat to Nigeria. The armed forces are doing what they can to neutralise/destroy the threat. But what is the Ends and which Ways will be used to achieve total mission success?

      • Eeben says:

        Sorry Peccavi, I forgot to add:
        The threat Nigeria is facing is a direct assault on the Pillars of State. This is not unlike other threats of the past although it has morphed into something whereby religion plays a very dominant role. Religion is also something that is easily and readily exploited to either attract followers or frighten the populace.
        I have assessed every conflict and war we in Africa have experienced in the past decades and not one of them could be fought in the same manner. However, there are very obvious trends and patterns that, if identified early enough, can stop or neutralise the threat.
        I say with respect that I believe there have been serious intelligence failures. Those failures have directly contributed towards a lack of strategic flexibility, a lack of policy adaption and a factor of the unknown.
        This is not a straight-forward guerrilla campaign they are conducting. It has elements of crime, terror and an insurgency.
        Also, let us not fool ourselves with so-called Hearts and Minds policies. The role of the armed forces is to locate, close with and destroy, disrupt or neutralise the threat. In doing so, they create a climate for the return of governance – and in so doing, allow government to govern.
        The fact that BH has possibly got training camps in Nigeria is obviously a concern. You can bet your salary on the fact that they will be close to international borders and within sympathetic areas.
        There is no Centre of Gravity – only a Trinity of Gravity. If that is not identified, attacked and neutralised, the conflict will become a protracted conflict and as you well know, such can become a war of attrition and bleed both the economy and the popular will to resist.

  10. Spirit. says:


    Please go back to my first and second posts on this blog some two years ago. Oga Eeben has just spilled what has been giving me nightmares for years.

    They live, we sleep.

    May God bless Nigeria.

  11. startrek says:

    while am not a uniform soldier, I ve interviewed over 8 family members who are all X senior Defsec officers about the situation in the north east. and all conclusion points to failure of national strategy which has lead to failure of intelligence which has allowed this national embarrassment to last this long …

    • Eeben says:

      A good observation Startrek. However, intelligence both guides and directs strategy and policy. Without intelligence, politicians, soldiers, law enforcement officers and others are all blind to the threat and by being blind, we give the threat the initiative – on a plate.

  12. startrek says:

    sir it seems to me that if this were true then we may be in this for a little longer than our politicians are anticipating… cos going by my little background info the “intelligence community” is about the worst hit of all our national human assets this past 20yrs … God bless Nigeria

  13. doziex says:

    As Eeben said, our national strategy is our military strategy period. There is no mystery about it.

    To locate, close with and destroy BH. Also disrupt there activities as much as possible.

    The problem is in the next steps. To carry out this national strategy, funds need to be made available to aquire the necessary tools of war.
    Anybody accusing me and some other bloggers of calling for mindless expenditure of capital is wrong, and has made up that issue in their own head.

    Mobile warfare is about envelopment. That is covering and dominating territory or the battle space.
    In present times, this can be done horizontally by foot, horse, bicycles, hilux trucks, MRAPs, IFVs, APCs etc.
    It could also be done vertically, by helicopter mobile troops, or paratroopers.

    So, if our national strategy calls for territorial domination, it follows, that we are going to need the right equipment for the job.
    There was little to no helicopter usage by ecomog troops in sierra leone.
    However, when the EO came, their operations were centered around ground and helicopter mobility, to locate, close with, and to destroy the enemy.

    After they left, and ecomog escalated it’s presence, little emphasis was placed on helicopters, save for the lone M-17 hold over from the EO presence.

    So the template for this war has been largely written, nothing is new under the sun.

    So we either get on with the acquisition of the necessary tools of war, or we can delude ourselves into defeat.

    And since our authorities have decided our national strategy is to annialate BH, why not consult with the proven best in the business.
    Nobody knows it all. NA certainly doesn’t.

    The necessary equipment + expert mentors/ advisors = easy and quick victory, cameroons safe havens not withstanding.

    We are facing islamist guns for hire from mali, but mainly from chad, these are the seleka rebels that just wreaked havok in CAR, coupled with an increasingly very well trained and equipped local BH cadre.

    But they are not ghosts, they will be crushed by a well financed, sound counterinsurgency unit.

    Making this unit a reality is more than within the capability of the nigerian government.

    • Eeben says:

      EO fought the war in SL on several different levels Doziex. Where air mobility played a large role, so too did ground mobility – but all based on intelligence. This gave the opportunity to apply devastating manoeuvre at a time and place of our choosing and given the enemy no opportunity to escape to fight another day.
      The NAF sometimes provided us with close air support as did your gunners a time or 2.
      Yes, the template has been written but also forgotten by many.
      I am currently writing a book on how to fight (and win) wars in Africa…

  14. Oje says:

    Is Eben from South Africa?

    Breaking news i just heard it appears some Cameroonian soldiers and two Cameroonian civilians have been killed by Boko Haram Rebels. Cameroonian regiments in turn rushed to the scene and killed dozens of Boko Haram Rebels. This is getting rather interesting.

  15. startrek says:

    Cameroon is just Trying to be smart …. I stand tobe corrected that what .Marshall eaben was alluding to is much more than just military strategy or acquisition. it is I believe a national strategy derived from economic/financial Intelligence strategy, military/ security, diplomatic/ interstate, terror/ criminal, tribal/ethnic, etc. which is then grilled & drilled into our national intelligence curriculum, which then integrates our core values to produce a national strategy and vise-vasa. otherwise BH may be gone today with a good military strategy and BAM tomorrow we have another group by a deferent nomenclature running wild in the west and then we go to the market again.. at the ex pence of other national indices…

    • Eeben says:

      You are correct Startrek. The national strategy (NS) is very different from the national security strategy (NSS). The NS is formulated at the level of government and the NSS is a supporting strategy where the intelligence services, the armed forces and the law enforcement agencies are the mail role players. The aim of the NSS is to protect and guide the NS – in effect the Pillars of State.

      • doziex says:

        Sorry Eeben, TIA(this is africa) in nigeria, the national strategy is unprecedented corruption.
        Every other convuluted term, is a mere distraction to these Lootocrats.

        If our leaders thought of national strategy, they would at least marry their desire to at times play giant of africa in peacekeeping, with the proper security capabilities to get the job done.
        And unlike most african countries, nigeria has plenty of oil money to buy any weapon system our hearts desires.

        But time and time again we show up on the world stage underequiped and underresourced.
        It’s the tenacity of our long suffering infantry men that always saves the day.
        After taking heavy loses, they always choose death before dishonour.

        But now, the crises is at our doorstep. we have been ringing the alarm bell on this blog, for 2 years or more, but nothing seems to be interupting the corrupt slumber party going on in abuja.

  16. startrek says:

    Marshal Eaben its been refreshing many thanks … Am optimistic with a good sense of judgement and an eagle eye focus Nigeria will soon regain her clout having gained strength.
    God bless FRN

  17. Tope says:

    Oga Eben,

    Even Before We sit down to craft an NS, wich may prove difficult due to so many many gross and misguided egostic interest, we need to Increase Efficiency of our NSS in such a way that we get Results Quickly. Boko Haram will NEVER Surrender till we Cut off :

    1. Foreign Support in terms of Fund, Hiring of Mercenaries and Twisted Religious Idealogies.

    2. Border Encroachment, We must Patrol da Border Heavily and have a Border Group with nothing less than 20,000 across the Country…..we have Vast Borders so dey need to be protected.

    3 We must Cut off All Foot Paths dey are likely to take by Constant or increased ISR aided by Satellite and Reconnaisance.

    4. Cut of Funding, Cut of Man Power, Choke them to one Spot, Restrict their movement by Creating Early Warning Response Systems.

    5. Intelligence by Canvassing the Nooks and Crannny of Villages close to the border…… Use Disintelligence to mislead Dem, USE Media to choke out their Voices.

    When we have Weakend Them, you can den Formulate a new NS and NSS. Let’s not forget we still have Land Disputes, Grazing Issues by da Fulanis and Community Clashes to Contend with.

    • Eeben says:

      Valid points all, Tope.
      Unfortunately, our leaders sometimes allow a problem to bubble and boil and tend to ignore it and act as though the problem doesn’t really exist. Then, when it bursts – as it inevitably will – they want others to fix it so that they remain free from blame in case teh “fix” doesn’t work.
      You cannot seal a chest wound with a band aid.

  18. peccavi says:

    Thanks for the reply Oga Eeben, the comment on who should train the Nigerian military was deliberately facetious, but the underlying point is Nigeria must look inwards.
    I sense you are being polite. The intelligence failures are astronomic but again this is a political/ strategic problem not a military one.
    I’m curious as to your concept of Trinity of Gravity as opposed to Centre of Gravity. I will agree that in asymmetric warfare there is never one aspect that you can neutralise to destroy the entity but several. Is this what you mean? What would you assess to be Boko Harams. Personally I believe it is their freedom of movement within Nigeria and across international borders and of course their utter ruthlessness and of course political top cover which means there is more than one Boko Haram.
    I am an unashamed student of the Portuguese, South African and Rhodesian schools of warfare for as you said you must always look at those who actually were winners, ideology and eventual outcomes notwithstanding, the Rhodesians and South Africans were past masters at utilising scarce resources to excellent effect. South Africa with its resources extended this to form one the finest and most balanced conventional and unconventional armed forces on the continent if not the world.
    The interesting thing though is that non of these countries imported instructors or looked for the best kit, they adapted what others were doing , adapted kit even if it was obsolete for their purposes and cracked on.
    The answers are all within Nigeria, we can take best practice from around the world and adapt it to our own peculiar circumstances.
    This is why I have advocated saturating the area with infantry patrols in company and platoon strength, forcing the enemy to ether withdraw across the borders or come out to fight, once they come out to fight, fix them and destroy them with air or ground fires.
    Not as easy as it sounds I know, but we have abundant manpower in Nigeria and it is quicker and cheaper to train an infantryman than it is to train a helicopter pilot, and more to the point air power is pretty much useless if the enemy runs away before it gets there or mixes with civilians. To destroy the enemy he must be fixed, you can either fix him from the air and then destroy from the ground or use manouvering forces on the groiund to fix and destroy or fix from the ground and destroy from the air. But we need to inmc

    Oga Doziex: we will never see eye to eye on your spend, spend, spend theory. A National strategy is not the same as a national security strategy, one is an adjynct of the other.
    Do you know how EO got one of their BMPS. The SL’s had the brand new BMPS parked up and no idea how to use them, until EO came along and adopted them. A rifle is just a lump of metal unless you know how to use it properly. This is the problem with the spend spend spend mentality.
    You are looking at EO’s use of armour and airpower from the perspective of the helicopter. The true perspective is that they knew how to use these tools effectively.
    And that is not just a matter of being able to fly a helicopter or drive an armoured vehicle or use the weapon systems but how to use these weapon systems to have the correct effect on the enemy.
    The US had more helicopters in storage in Iraq than the entire UK forces yet they still didn’t win. The Soviet forces in Afghanistan had abundant armour, helicopters and attack aircraft and virtually no rules of engagement but still didn’t win.
    So Oga, I’m not being contrary for contrary sake. I’m trying to make a clear point. Unless we actually understand the nature of our security problems. Define a preferred method of achieving it and then resource ourselves accordingly then we are just pissing in the wind.
    Boko Haram attacks with technical’s and motorcycles, with rifles and IEDS that is how the majority of casualties are caused, you are yet to explain how an MRAPs will counter this.

    Boko Haram is not the problem, it is a symptom of the problem. And that problem is the existential threat that we need to identify and mitigate

    • doziex says:

      Oga peccavi, forgive me these are desparate times, and I am begining to lose my cool.

      But bros I keep saying necessary equipment + strategic and tactical advisors/mentors = victory.
      But you only see “equipment”

      Mentoring and advising comes with the package.

      Yeah, I knew the RSLAF had a handful of T-72 tanks, BMP-2s, mi-24s and mi-17 before EO arrived. then EO brought the knowhow and experience.

      They did the same in angola putting angolan bmp-2s, su-22, mig-23s, turbo props etc to great use.
      NAF airforce has trained pilots at great expense all over the world, we now have a few helicopters and plenty of ground assets to get things cracking.
      The right advise and mentorship from Col. Eeben’s outfit, is all we need to get things in proper order.
      The likes of Col. neil Ellis would turn our mi-24/35 squadron into the most effective on the continent. That is if he is done working for US and the afghan airforce.

      The tracking and stalking of BH in NE nigeria would be like the tracking and fixing of the RUF or the UNITA. or may be some of SADFs cold war era enemies.

      Also SADF may have been lacking due to sanctions, but in namibia, they always had their MRAPs and puma/aluoette helicopters.

      I believe an STTEP/EO consultant deal with division 7 is what the dr has ordered.
      NA would get a real chance to learn and then formulate their own COIN techniques.

      Forcing them to learn in the midst of combat without a tutor is unrealistic and wouldn’t work.
      After NA has COIN experience from the ecomog wars and the niger delta.
      And as an institution appears none the wiser.
      NA is a professional force, and with the right attitude, they will internalize every thing EO has to offer.
      And then retain the expertise.

      • Eeben says:

        Doziex, when the Angolans approached us (EO), the enemy they were fighting was estimated to be over 90 000 men under arms. They also believed that they (UNITA) controlled 90% of the territory. 18 months later, the enemy sued for peace. A similar situation prevailed in SL where the capital was about to be over-run and all SL’s “friends” had either fled or were ready to flee. A few months later, the war was all but over. I rest my case.
        In Uganda, we (STTEP) trained the SOG (approx. 120 men at a time – after more than 800 arrived for selection) and once deployed, they soon had the LRA on the run. Foreign interests however put a stop to this. Again I rest my case.
        I will end with by saying that we must stop trying to emulate Western armies – their recent records of “success” leave a lot to be desired. If you copy or mimic failure, you will fail.
        I know many will not like this comment but it is true. We have our continent at stake. If we fail, we are doomed.

    • Eeben says:

      I assumed your comment was facetious Peccavi.
      In terms of training: How long has your army made use of foreign advisors? And where has it got you? I recall a comment on my blog a while back when a serving officer wrote “We are told when we come to Africa to train them badly in case we have to fight them one day”. I posted it – it is there for all the world to see.
      The SADF didn’t make use of foreign trainers as we were under severe sanctions and treated as though we had leprosy.
      Sitting from afar, I cannot determine BH’s Trinity of Gravity (ToG) but every war/conflict in Africa that I looked at had a ToG and not a CoG.
      One needs to do what you can with what you have. That was a saying in the SADF and we still carry it with us. It is not the equipment and weapons a man has but how he uses them. We adapted, tested, fixed and then went off to battle. Lessons learnt were implemented and not kept for historical debates. Technology (the little we had) was viewed as an asset and not as the strategy.
      Saturating an area with men is, in my opinion, not the best thing to do as you will end up spreading your forces very thinly across the country. The concept of a “troop surge” is ill fated as the US discovered. It costs money, allows the enemy to blend into the populace and is indeed a form of economic attrition that the enemy gains from.
      Before soldiers can fix an enemy, they need to first find the enemy.
      I believe African armies are mere clones of their once colonial masters’ armies. We are not fighting in Europe. We are in Africa. Our OA and OEs are very different. We are structured incorrectly. What we emphasis in our approach often weakens us.
      As long as our NS and NSS are disjointed and not aligned, we will continue to find ourselves on the back foot and continue to give the enemy an advantage on a solver platter.
      For that reason, STTEP always goes back to the NS/NSS before we start with anything. There is not second prize in our conflicts and failure is therefore never an option.

  19. Eeben says:

    Pecavi, I have been thinking about your comment and forgive me if I am wrong…
    I suspect that your pride in your unit, the army and in Nigeria itself is incredibly strong. That is excellent and how it should always be.
    But, don’t you think that at stake here is more than just unit and country pride? All of us know we face huge problems in Africa – we cannot wish them away. However, despite all our problems, shouldn’t our pride in our continent be equally strong? Shouldn’t we accept that sometimes, someone out there may just be able to add to our approach and assist us to reassess and adapt our doctrine and TTPs, especially when it sometimes appears that somewhere we are making hard work for ourselves?
    I am not recommending the Nigerian army approaches and/or uses STTEP. That is a decision that rests way beyond my grasp – and that too is how it should be.
    But…Why do some African armies approach us and use us? Why do they entrust us to give our 2-cents worth? Why have they entrusted me with numerous very senior positions in their armies? Why do they entrust us to command some very sensitive missions – with their men that we trained under our command? They don’t always agree with us or with me and we sometimes enter into heated debates about issues. But, we all realise that ultimately, it is about Africa and not who I am or where I come from.
    However, I think the NA could do a lot better with some of the advisors and contractors they use and hire. I will again say – do not for one moment think they are here because they love Nigerians or indeed anyone from Africa.
    I will again ask the question and perhaps you will again make light of it BUT show me the success any of these advisors and contractors have achieved – ANYWHERE. Also, if they had done such good jobs, why is BH able to continue with their campaign of terror and murder?

  20. doziex says:

    Col.Eeben, this is the point I have been trying to get across on this blog for almost a year now.

    A combination of national pride, superiority complex and misplaced patriotism has lead to fierce opposition to the idea of NA receiving much needed help.

    However, some of us were once young bording students living far away from home.
    Imagine BH rampaging thru our dormitories in the middle of the night, slashing the throats of children.
    It is unimaginable to me.
    So if STTEP/EO presents a real solution, and folk oppose it anyway for frivolous reasons, let’s just know that someday, someone will answers for the wicked ness and neglect that led to the deaths of these children.
    I would continue to emphasize that I foresaw that bh would get this deadly, and when the time came, NA would not be ready to cope.
    I said 2 years ago that home made explosive throwing BH would take to technicals, acquire rpgs, and start to overrun military bases and our towns.

    I said all these, because I paid daily attention, when the same unfolded in sierra leone circa dec 98/jan 99.
    Thousands of Freetown residents did not flee, because their faith in the abilities of NA.
    In this conflict, nigerians have been lolly gagging, and trying to wish BH away.
    Folks on this blog have consistently argued that bh is not a serious threat, that NA need only get mad, and bh will be history.
    Well it is not so.
    And NA started late to train for this war. NA is yet to upgrade it’s air assets, a step that should have happened expeditiously.
    The confusion and blood shed I observed in sierra Leone 15 years ago is now visiting us on our territory.
    The moment of truth is now, the time for ineffective guess work is long gone.

    The Mod should employ the services of STTEP formerly known as executive outcomes.

    Let’s let the necessary occur.

    • Eeben says:

      Doziex, I must point out that STTEP is NOT EO. There is a large difference between the two companies. Possibly, I am the common denominator and some of the EO men are with me and I with them. But, that is where the similarity ends.
      A truism in current African wars is that the longer we take to decide on action, the stronger the enemy gets. We should never forget that whilst we were dilly-dallying, he was already preparing his onslaught. That is why we need to change our approach and stop him whilst he is preparing.
      But, we must also remember that it is never too late to take action. That only comes when we have capitulated.

      • doziex says:

        Well Colonel, As long as the experience level and the capabilities of both organisations are similar, the difference is immaterial to the potential customer, the nigerian govt.

        This is first and foremost, a business transaction.
        Ofcourse, doing business with africans that are competent, and understand the ways of this continent is advantageous.
        Our politicians, just woke up to the danger, and are in search of results.

        The top general in the army was told to relocate his HQ to the area of operation, because they want results.
        But such stunts would bring no favorable results.

        We need counterinsurgency experts that are experienced in COIN combat.
        The skill involved in tracking, locating and fixing very mobile insurgents is often underated.
        Your former outfit EO, was able to turn the hunter (unita, LRA and ruf) into the hunted.

        Right now, no one has a fix on a convoy of about 10 gun trucks and 2 captured APCs.
        Andother units, just wreaking havoc on town after town.
        The airforce have alpha jets and a few mi-24/35s but when bh is spotted, they are NOT fixed in position, so they escape the strike, and visit their vengeance on defenseless civilians.
        I know it is hard and dangerous work, but that is what makes special forces special.

        Frankly, my target audience is our politicians and NA top brass.

        It is best to take a little knock in our pride, and engage STTEP, than to preside over this continuing human tragedy.

      • Eeben says:

        Dozier, If EVER STTEP is engaged, neither my men or I would view it as a knock to the NA’s pride.
        When I left the SADF, I was almost immediately contracted as my boots passed through the gate to come back and train SADF Special Forces in Covert Operations. Our Special Forces’ pride certainly didn’t take a knock – it provided them with skills they needed and were able to go out and use to the advancement of their mission. That allowed new experiences and lessons learnt to be brought back and the training and doctrine of such deployments to be adapted to ever-changing operations circumstances.

  21. Spirit. says:

    Oga Eeben, much respect sir.

    I am sure you know that an average Nigerian has a pride that bothers on arrogance, but if he is now a public office holder; he thinks he is a ‘god’ and that Nigeria is the center of the universe, nothwithstanding the fact that the same politician is looting his country’s treasury per second!

    Initially, Nigerians believed that “Somalia, Algeria, Afganistan cannot happen here”. We are a special people, annoited by God”. An average Nigerian believes that God has no other business doing other than waiting/dotting on him and condoning his foolishness and wastefulness.

    Even as we speak, Lagosians still believe that “Boko Haram cannot attack Lagos!” and that by a particular divine intervention, any attempt to come to Southern Nigeria will be foiled! Even today, some of my friends still said that a ‘Kenyan Shopping Mall type of attack cannot happened in Lagos. And if you asked them why, they tell you “I DON’T KNOW WHY, BUT IT CAN’T JUST HAPPEN!” Such is the mindset of the average nigerian. Multiply that by ten to get the mindset of the average politician. This is so because the politician lives in so much affluence, and he believes that no matter how big the problem is, just one ‘monthly allocation’ from Abuja will take care of it.

    Even as BH is killing at least 20 people daily, our politicians are busy defecting from one party to the other and campaining believing that “nothing shall by any means hurt them”.

    Instead of coming out to admit that WE NEED HELP, they keep looking at the Billions of dollars accruing from oil sale, thinking that this war can be won by throwing money at BH.

    Wake up, our house is burning! Do away with your stupid pride and seek for help for it is obvious we need it.

  22. rka says:

    “On Monday night, they attempted to attack Damaturu; they were advancing towards the city when they were sighted but soldiers and Air Force fighters countered them.
    ‘Several of them were killed in that fight and a security personnel was also shot to death.
    “The Air Force did very well; I think that is one of the best battles of the Air Force since this thing (campaign against terrorists) started.”
    The PUNCH gathered on Tuesday that the insurgents stormed Jakana around 11.30pm on Monday and had fierce gunfight with troops mostly drawn from the 7th Infantry Division.
    The terrorists were however said to have succeeded in burning down the village and the only police station on the Maiduguri/Damaturu highway even though many of them were killed.
    It was further gathered that the soldiers seized a Mercedes Benz 9/11 truck abandoned by the insurgents.
    Three soldiers were however said to have sustained gunshot wounds while two policemen were shot to death.”

  23. peccavi says:

    Oga Eeben, we are more or less speaking from the same side of the table.
    Like you I agree our armies are incorrectly structured, I wrote a piece on whether Africa still needs armies because as you say we simply have clones of forces that evolved over time for warfare on the North European Plain to fight particular enemies in particular circumstances. (

    I am not a fan of foreign advisers for the reasons you elucidated. There are no permanent friends only permanent interests. My constant harping back to Rhodesia, Portugal, RSA etc is because they looked inwards, analysed their problems and solved them themselves. When they took things from abroad it was purely on their own terms. When Portugal was preparing for its operations in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau, they sent officers to embed with French forces in Algeria and Brits in Cyprus, Kenya and Malaya. When these officers came back and wrote Portugal’s COIN strategy they did not photocopy what they learnt but adapted it to Portugal’s economy, demographics and political objectives

    So I totally and completely agree and have written extensively on this blog and mine on the need for a coherent strategy, I have suggested options.
    However the only thing we hear is the need for more money without understanding what that money has been spent on.
    Flooding the area with troops is risky yes but my reasoning is that you must seek, find and fix the enemy in order to destroy them. And technology is all well and good but Nigeria has abundant manpower and well trained troops can achieve all these effects, while dedicated ISTAR assets can only find.
    The optimal solution is as you say a specialised force with its own dedicated recce element, a combination of Koevet and fireforce,
    I agree with everything you have said however the issue of PMCs etc is as you understand emotive and even cynics like myself can attest to a wariness of trusting PMCs despite all evidence to the contrary. If we were to use PMCs then the logic would be to use those with a successful track record in Africa rather than random people who rove from Georgia to Afghanistan to Ukraine selling a one size fits all package that falls apart when the bullets start to fly.
    Oga Doziex: its not that I only see equipment, it is that you seem to be talking around the central issue, as I said Boko Haram is a symptom of a problem, not the actual problem. Just the same way people trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, armed robbery, bunkering etc are symptonms of the same problem.
    When a government in a country with no airline, in the middle of an insurgency is shamelessly budgeting money for another Presidential jet do you not think that we are looking at the wrong end of the problem?
    The early sponsors of fundamentalism and Boko Haram are walking around freely today. Na helicopter go solve that problem.
    Those levels of problem are beyond my pay scale and knowledge so I limit my comments to what I know. And the first thing we need is to clearly identify our National security priorities? Is it regime preservation, territorial integrity, or protection of the people?
    And then how do we achieve it.
    Be careful what you wish, all the people that you mentioned learned their trade in their own country in their own circumstances. They achieved excellence because they existed in a system that acknowledged and demanded excellence. If we do not face up to our reality we are once again wasting our time. We can get all the expertise in the world but without the political and strategic will and direction to implement it we are wasting our time.

  24. Eeben says:

    We need our armies Peccavi. I for one would not wish to be occupied by an occupier who forces his morals and views on us and just by the by, murders and rapes our civilians or sees how much collateral damage he can cause. But, we need the right armies.
    Thanks for pointing us to your blog.
    I fully appreciate and understand where you are coming from re PMCs. One only has to look at the mess the majority of them have created and how a system of dependence is cultured, nurtured and exploited with no success at all. That is why I asked the question re their success records.
    Keep up your arguments – debating is always good as it opens other options to us.

  25. doziex says:

    Oga peccavi, BH a symptom ? NOOO. They are the very disease itself. Individuals that have bastardized islam and the teachings of the prophet, peace be unto him.
    Slaughtering women and children, Muslims included like cattle.
    What part of the koran authorizes that.

    Anyway, our problem, is that we never make hay, while the sun is out.
    If we did, we would have had our forces training properly, in country against the rainy day.

    It is said that in peace time, you prepare for war, and in wartime, you prepare for peace.

    This is exactly what SADF, the Portuguese , the Rhodesian, and any other responsible country does.
    Well who are we kidding, Nigeria is NOT a responsible country. The people and the leadership included.
    So what gives ? We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    If NA was a responsible institution, our experience in liberia would have been all it took, to motivate NA to create units with mastery of counterinsurgency warfare.
    But NOOO, the same mistakes where repeated in sierra Leone, the niger delta, and now in maidugri.
    A period of 20 yrs, with no learning curve.
    If the nigerian leaders were responsible, they would make the resources available for such training, and follow up, till it gets done.
    Likewise the people and the press of nigeria.

    At this late stage, we can’t afford to be paralyzed by our numerous character flaws.
    We have to focus on defeating BH today, and then hopefully deal with the root causes tomorrow.
    NA can employ the services of STTEP as a stop gap measure today,
    And this elite training and concepts can be institutionalized in NA’s ongoing counterinsurgency programs.
    So that in the future, NA provides the experts.
    But you cannot reap where you did not sow.
    NA has to invest in our institutions over time, to train up units, then have them refined in combat.

  26. peccavi says:

    Oga Eeben,
    Sorry for the delayed reply, I don’t think Africa should be Army-less but we definitely do not need armies in the way and manner they are structured, funded and distributed. Most armies are focussed on regime protection rather than defending people or territory and most of them have equipment they can’t use or maintain in order to fight wars they will never fight. But its a debate better paid and more knowledgeable people will have!
    I agree that some form of specialised force is needed to go in and take the fight to Boko HAram, the question is what happens after they withdraw? How is the peace preserved? What happens the next election cycle when a politican becomes desperate and starts arming people or when there is a crisis or famine in Chad, Niger or CAR and bandits start migrating.
    Thus I believe a surge with light infantry to destroy the enemy, with a long range SF type group to destroy them in their safe areas all backed up by strong police/ border forces.
    Whichever solution it would be nice to see if the FGN is actually doing something or planning further than April or 2015.
    I would like to ask though which adversary that you’ve come up against which has presented you the most difficulty? Conventional or otherwise? Thanks
    Oga Doziex,
    BH is a symptom. If we did not have venal, corrupt leaders then we would not be dealing with people who can murder children nor would those leaders see nothing wrong with holding celebrations the next day.
    If you think bringing people like STTEP is going to change the mindsets of those at the top then you are wrong.
    I would agree with you that it would be nice for the STTEP people to possibly advise in setting up an SF school or the like but whats the point of a nice sharpened sword if the wielders don’t know how to use it?

    • Eeben says:

      Peccavi, I believe we both agree to some extent on the matter of African armies as we have been saying much of the same. We differ on some issues but that too is a good thing as a healthy debate can never be bad.
      The structure, size, composition, equipping and so forth of our armed forces ought to be aligned with our national strategy, national security strategy, the national intelligence estimate and our continued intelligence inputs. For a government to decide it needs an army consisting of eg 14 Divisions is somewhat guessing if the threats that country is facing and will face have not been correctly assessed, identified and predicted – intelligence prediction is always vital . But, we cannot secure our countries on guess-work.
      Armies should not serve politicians. They are an instrument of state and serve the state – not a singular political interest. When the smoke has cleared, they ought to adapt posture and enter phases of retraining etc. As they are “from the people, for the people”, government can use them for multiple roles ie operations other than war.
      The large majority of our threats are directly related to issues of governance that in turn gives rise to dissatisfaction. This dissatisfaction can be expressed in many different forms ie protests, strikes, sabotage and so forth and can even evolve into insurgencies or an escalated level of violent crime. These things are all indicative of a disconnect between the government and the people.
      The migration of bandits/insurgents/terrorists/criminals etc happens because we do not adhere to proper intelligence collection and forecasting and therefore we are usually caught unawares when a threat “suddenly” appears. Through a lack of intelligence and forecasting we have allowed the threat to develop as threats never “suddenly” appear. However, by inaction, we allowed them to prepare for their actions. Reaction is usually slow as there appears to be a misguided belief that if we ignore a problem, it will go away. When indeed we do react, we often over-react. Over-reaction can have many negative implications.
      Religion as a motivating factor is, in my opinion, something that is exploited by criminals and used to coerce people to join their uprising against law and order. Eventually it transitions into an insurgency. But again, if intelligence was doing its job, this would have been identified long before the actual problem manifested itself. Again, this shows a disconnect between government and the people and what might have been a minor issue that could have been managed suddenly becomes a major problem.
      CAR is a very good example of how intelligence was disregarded despite several warnings being issued to the government that eventually collapsed. I know this because we warned that government approx. 6-8 months before its collapse. The rebel advance there could have been halted with a trained and equipped battle group – and there was sufficient time to train such a battle group had the intelligence been heeded.
      Our security forces (intelligence, law enforcement and armed forces) need to take a long hard look at the manner in which they function and are structured to cope. Our governments need to start governing and relying less on so-called foreign advisors who have spent a month on our continent and who now pass themselves off as “specialists” or “old Africa hands”. When this happens, a lot of our problems will disappear. Until that happens, we will be victims of our own slackness.
      I think UNITA was probably the most formidable foe we ever had to deal with. Bear in mind they had approx. 90 000 men at arms, were supported by SA, the US, Morocco and China. However, it took one trained brigade to destroy them.

      • peccavi says:

        I was guessing it would be UNITA. All the accounts I’ve read show them to be an extremely capable enemy.
        But as alluded all you really need is a few good men, properly trained, led and postured.
        I agree with you on African defence and security, its simply a story of continuous slow motion car crashes you can see coming from a long way off. Like you said about CAR, the Seleka take over was obvious from the get go, yet Bozize would neither negotiate nor prepare for war, what type of insanity was that?
        Again we now see thousands of troops trying to go in and solve something that could have been secured easily at the beginning.
        Look at Somalia, billions being poured in to prop up a totally disconnected and corrupt government yet Puntland and Somaliland which actually have accountable, representative governments are not even recognised.
        But I don’t blame the west or the east. If you leave your door open and your soup bubbling on the pot, why wont someone come in and take it

  27. Eeben says:

    Peccavi, I am pleased we agree on these issues.
    What I found strange re CAR is that Bozize refused to listen to us yet believed the disinformation he was fed – no prize for guessing by who. Choosing to believe disinformation instead of intelligence created the chaos we now witness in CAR and the populace are now worse off than ever before.
    A government must only negotiate – or consider a call by the enemy to negotiate – when it can do so from a position of absolute strength. It must not allow itself to be bullied by the international community into accepting an unconditional ceasefire as half won wars do not and have never constituted victory. If not, the conflict will simply be prolonged and the agony will only intensify.
    I don’t necessarily blame foreign interests – I blame governments who have allowed themselves to be dictated to by foreign interests.

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