NIGERIAN ARMY COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS : FIELD IMAGERY

A Nigerian soldier deployed on counterinsurgency operations in northeast Nigeria inspects the wreckage of insurgents’ vehicles destroyed in action.

Troops and counterterrorism cops clustered around 4WD trucks and a Panhard VBL armoured vehicle.

Nigerian troops at a camp from which insurgents got forced out.

Bodies of slain insurgents and their weapons at the gates of 202 Tank Battalion, Bama, following an abortive attack on May 7th, 2013.

About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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28 Responses to NIGERIAN ARMY COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS : FIELD IMAGERY

  1. Augustine says:

    Oga beegeagle, I salute ! Please could you confirm if this video is actually a new one, and if the person is the authentic Shekau we presumed dead now alive?

    Also I want to ask, the story below from an ex-Nigerian ambassador to Sudan and Iran, does it point to the root of our problems?

    http://www.punchng.com/news/i-was-chased-out-of-sudan-when-i-raised-the-alarm-about-boko-haram-ambassador-bola-dada/

    Next please tell NA/NAF to expedite action on Boko Haram because the rainy season is next month of May, and bad weather limits air and ground operations, while it favours insurgents on the ground who could operate in rains with less risk of NA/NAF interdiction.

    I also want to ask, the CDS said Boko Haram insurgency would be over this month of April, could it be because he knew Tucano would arrive this months?

    Please confirm the authenticity of this video and kindly identify that APC if it is NA armour or Bokos import. Thanks

    • igbi says:

      The video is not a new one, we have already discussed about it on this blog.
      And what we are fighting is quite different to what was being fought in mali (not just by france but by a coalition which included us ), indeed the main target of boko haram are poor innocent civilians and that wasn’t the case in Mali. I have a hard time with the fact that many people can’t understand that this situation is not a “typical” insurgency. In Mali, the alqaida terrorists were actually fighting, while these boko haram fools just like to target civilians and then run away to their safe heaven in cameroon. By the way the terrorists in mali are still actif, (you might have confused them with m23 which did surrender), they just don’t focus their attacks on civilians, that is why you have the wrong feeling that they have given up.

      • Augustine says:

        Thanks for the info, so as it stands, Shekau remains dead. Do you think NAF has busted that APC ? Not a big threat unless facing special forces armed with only rifles.

  2. Augustine says:

    May I also ask why Boko Haram has not stopped fighting us after we have killed them in thousands over a 4 year period, while the bigger and more powerful powerful Mali insurgents that overran almost half the country heading toward capital city Bamako, defeated the Malian army and air force, until stopped by French military, finally withdrew and gave up the fight giving France an easy victory within a few months.

    Why is our own insurgency refusing to end, despite all NA/NAF/SSS operations including the use of regular air power and heavy ground equipment with a whole division of infantry ?

    • peccavi says:

      Oga Augustine a pertinent question but easily answered.
      1) The person in that video appears to be authentic Shekau, in voice, appearance and mannerisms. His liveliness is debatable right up to the next video which appears to show the ‘Taiwan’ Shekau
      2) I am of the opinion that Boko Haram funding is almost wholly generated in Nigeria and the Sahel, I believe (it is a studied opinion) that they generate most of their finding through taxes/ protection rackets against the elite, and smuggling/ protecting smugglers. Their links to AQIM an thus the even more lucrative cigarette/ drug/ fuel smuggling activities in the Sahel were through Ansaru, which has split. Also AQIM are actually true fundamentalists and are scrupulously honest in their criminality, for example their fighters have to produce receipts for everything they buy and have to justify every penny back to HQ (this stringent accounting has been part of the hallmarks of AQ). Boko Haram is typically Nigeria in that the Oga at the top just does what he likes. Also BH kills way more Muslims than Christians which is problematic for AQIM/ AQ Main. There are very good studies on this please google Jacob Zenn, he’s a brilliant analyst on this topic. The final reason I think there is limited external funding is that BH has very limited chatter on the global jihadi network. Links to Iran are non existent. Iran has proxies in Nigeria through the Lebanese and the Nigerian Shia, BH is diametrically opposite. However the links to Sudan, Somalia, Cameroun, Chad, Niger etc exist and are a little to complex to narrow down here
      3) The vehicle appears to be an early variant Czech OT-64. I have no knowledge of such a vehicle being in Nigeria’s inventory, however it is entirely possible that siuch a vehicle was supplied in the 60s/ 70s when we were doing deals with the Czechs and Soviets and when it became obsolete was passed to the Air Force for base defence. I believe some were supplied to Libya and Sudan, this could be ex Libyan stock that wandered down south. Or it could be a totally different vehicle. It is interesting they didn’t pan the camera round the vehicle to show markings or vehicle licence number
      4) The rainy season holds advantages and disadvantages. The roads will be muddy making it difficult for BH to move in their vehicle convoys however motorcycles will still have free passage. It also frees them from wells and gives them more water sources. However it means more rivers and so. However you are correct, poor weather s more advantageous to the enemy
      5) The CDS should have known better, insurgencies do not have a timeline
      6) The conflict inMali is very very different. AQIM and its allies did something no sane insurgency should do, which is take and hold ground and then rather than either completing the deal and taking the whole country or negotiating concessions they sat still and waited. When France attacked it was not a sudden, unplannmed moves. For months they had been prepping the battlefield, using ISTAR assets (US/French) to identify enemy positions, SF had penetrated and identified enemy positions and they had positioned troops, aircraft supplies etc in a advantageous positions round the country. The push south by the insurgents was in reality an aggressive probe not a full southward attack but it gave the French the casus belli to launch their assault. Thus they shaped and prepared the battlefield, with ISTAR and then shaped the enemy with air power, then they launched attacks north. The French main effort were the Ifar Adroghas Mountains, but they needed to destroy the enemy below that areas in order to secure their lies of communications. This they did with aggressive manouverist attacks. When they got into the mountains, they and the Chadians did it old school, infantry attacks against the enemy supported by airpower, all the time their ops were directed by the use of intelligence. The enemy were driven out of populated areas by firepower and then close combat, they did not turn round and start killing peaceful civilians they went into the desert and mountains to carry on the fight. As I have said when I get time and I can find the declassified reports I will try and write a review of their operations. It is fairly impressive.
      7) Nigeria ops are completely different. We do not have the luxury of isolating the battlespace, prepping and shaping it and then intervening at will, the insurgency is ongoing and short of conceding territory we have to carry on the fight. Using a US analogy is it analogous to building an aeroplane while flying it and someone is shooting at you. This is why I advocated a complete multi divisional relief in place. To allow one division to hold ground and another to go in and defeat the enemy.
      However Boko Haram does not control ground, they can make ground untenable or dangerous but they cannot deny it. Likewise the security forces do not have the strength or numbers it seems to hold every piece of ground they take. This is not a new problem. In Helmand we had the same problem, fighting over the same villages because you will go in and destroy the enemy, enemy will fuck off ut there are not enough men to defend the village and continues offensive ops and defend lines of communication so you pull out and the enemy returns.
      Boko Haram however is a very unusual insurgency, it is more like the LRA than AQIM. And part of the Nigerian problem is not just having the troops but how we use them. We miss out on simple things like force protection, our use of airpower is not aggressive, timely or coordinated enough. We are still launching set piece Battalion attacks when we should be infiltrating Companies to take the fight to the enemy. We seem obsessed with airpower ignoring the absolutely devastating effect mortars and artillery can have. Also Boko Haram is not a unified monolithic force that can be destroyed in one offensive; they are a set of loosely coordinated gangs

      My 2kobo

      • asorockweb says:

        Oga Peccavi,
        Nice write up.

        Oga Beegs, consider making some of the well written, long “comments” into articles in there own right.

        Some notes on Peccavi’s comment:

        1) Boko Haram and Ansaru
        I believe the two organizations are back as one.
        An Ansaru spokesman pretty much said so – I believe this happened after the French intervention in Mali. The evidence of this possible reunification was exhibited when the French family was kidnapped in Cameroun – an Ansaru-style operation in BH territory.

        2) BH Financing
        The only economic activity of significant value in BH’s patch of the Sahel is Fuel smuggling – facilitating the transfer of Nigeria’s subsidized refined petroleum products to neighboring countries.
        That being said, when BH gets a multi-million dollar payout for the release of kidnap victims, they receive a major boost.
        I still believe they get financial support from other parties, not necessarily other terror groups – those have their own wars to fight.

        My 1kobo

    • beegeagle says:

      That is a MOWAG APC that I see.

      • asorockweb says:

        Correct.

        It’s a MOWAG Piranha-based vehicle of the 1st variant.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mowag_Piranha.

        @Beegs, are all our ex-Canadian MOWAGS used exclusively in Darfur?
        Have we ever lost a MOWAG in Darfur?
        I know in one or two occasions, NA peacekeepers in Darfur have been made to surrender with their equipment.

  3. beegeagle says:

    ELSEWHERE IN 2011, BEEGEAGLE WROTE:

    excerpts

    “Concerning funding for Boko Haram, the
    earliest snippets which we heard came
    through Radio France International in
    2004 when BH used to be known as the
    “Taliban”. In that radio interview in which a Nigerian-born official of the Centre for African Policy and Peace Strategy was the respondent, the said official alluded to findings which suggested that the insurgents enjoyed the backing of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Sudan. They were that direct about it.

    Since then, we have also learnt that the
    late BH leader was trained in The Sudan.
    Connect the dots and possibilities,
    gentlemen”

    http://www.beegeagle.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/new-qaeda-spin-off-threatens-west-africaboko-haram-affiliate/

  4. doziex says:

    Oga Augustine, thanks for giving us something to opine about.

    Anyway.

    (1) Shekau Ain’t dead.

    He actively trains and commands BH.

    And until NA brings us savimbi type or Prabhakaran type evidence, we should assume that he is alive and kicking.

    Remember those that conquered the tamil tigers and the Unita rebels, presented the world with evidence of the bullet riddled bodies of their commanders.

    (2) That APC is clearly a variant of NA’s MOWAG.

    It’s either the piranha or the grizzly. The front and the headlights tells you all you need to know.

    The gun turret is simply facing backwards.

    (3) WHY IS NA NOT WIPING OUT BH ?

    Well as I said before, NA likes to take the most difficult route to solve any problem.

    We waited for BH to load up on technicals or call it mobile gun trucks.

    Then we kept NAF anemic with few functional strike and attack resources.

    So as I said months ago on this blog, NAF did not have the capabilities of the French air force, or the perhaps partially US assisted KAF in Somalia.

    In both cases, pin point air strikes and excellent reconnaissance, targeted and destroyed enemy gun trucks/ technicals, before they could be brought to bare on friendly forces.

    The US gifted the Malian army 90 plus trucks, mounted with 50 cal machine guns, these were all left behind for the Tuareg/ ansar dine forces, as the Malian army fled south.

    Well the French airforce mirage -2000s , rafales and tiger attach helicopters destroyed every single truck the could find before their advancing forces.

    Against al shabab, the KDF F-5 II and US drones also tore al shabab’s substantial fleet of technical to shreds, before the main advance.

    BUT in Nigeria , against BH, we can’t even count on the combined use of NAF alpha jets and MI-25/35 hinds.

    The alpha jets seem to be doing all the attacking and combat air support.

    As for the hinds, were are they ? why is their presence not been felt in the sambisa forest BH camps, or inside giwa barracks in maidugri ?

    A friend of mine recently travelled to port harcout, and witnessed the arrival of the 1st lady.

    So the CIC assigned 6 hinds to that exercise in intimidation of the present governor.

    But no hinds where available to rescue the lost company of NA men on the botched assault on BH sambisa bases.

    So what the alpha jets ran out of bombs, it is a light jet trainer you know ? The SU-25 would carry a heavier bomb load, and loiter over the target for longer.

    Any way the hinds should have been there to bail out those troops.

    So Oga Augustine to cut the long story short, NAF has not taken care of the Technicals, and we witnessed 6 or more technical assault and over run GIWA army base.

    The mobility of the trucks, that the lethality of the AAA guns, are inflicting damage on NA troops also.
    That is why No unit wants to engage with out alpha jets 1st bombing the way to the target.

    As someone that followed NA closely in the LBR and SLR wars, I new they had issues with technicals.

    Who wouldn’t , 50 caliber bullets being fired on a flat trajectory on an advancing platform is nothing to sneeze at.

    Hand held TOW missiles or Milan HOT anti tank missiles provides the US and the French the safe range to deal with technicals, too bad the NA infantry are not equipped with such.

    So there you have it, NA is choosing to slug it out with BH technicals, and their RPGs

    So any possible victory would be a long time coming, and very costly.

  5. beegeagle says:

    Yes, Oga Asorock, we have owned MOWAG Piranha APCs since the late 1970s/early 1980s. 70 units were acquired and they saw action throughout the ECOMOG Wars of 1990-2000 in LBR and SLR. They were also deployed for the 2003 ECOMIL intervention in Liberia. In coastal Africa, they held up nicely.

    In 2005 or thereabouts when Nigerian and Rwandese troops were alone in Darfur under the banner of AMIS, Canada apparently gifted Nigeria MOWAG Grizzly APCs which appear not to have been tropicalised and floundered in the desert heat of Darfur.

    Yes, we lost at least a MOWAG destroyed in an attack at Haskanita methinks…over seven years ago. The photo is on the internet.

    All MOWAG APCs eventually gave way for Otokar Cobra, modernised BTR 70 and MT-LB APCs in Darfur. So that is why we own MOWAG Piranha and Grizzly APCs alike. I have action photos of ALL APC types mentioned above, logged in the blog archives.

    Start this way if you will

    https://beegeagle.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/world-exclusive-an-unfamiliar-amphibious-armoured-vehiclegrizzlyof-the-nigerian-armypropscamouflage1984-a-beegeagles-blogger/

  6. Joe says:

    Offtopic but, it seems like Proforce has a ‘new’ product

  7. beegeagle says:

    Those vehicles form part of a larger requisition by a brigade (details and number of vehicles withheld by yours truly) under 2 Mechanised Division. When I visited, I was told that the brigade commander brought some Toyota Hilux 4WD to be ‘uparmoured’ and reconfigured for IS Operations.

    That is what you see there. Good work by PROFORCE all the same.

  8. beegeagle says:

    The engine block and fuel tank are protected – standard feature for all products. Run-flat tyres also standard.

  9. doziex says:

    Nice work proforce.

    More NA units will save lives of our precious well trained soldiers by investing in these Proforce Hilux upgrades.

    Proforce, I would suggest you investigate a modular approach to manufacturing, and later installing the Anti RPG CAGE ARMOUR .

    You know, may be manufacture the SLATS or the CAGE as separate modular parts, to be easily assembled, and welded onto any hilux or APC of choice.

    The RPG density if you will, among BH cadres is as high as 50 %. They use the weapon, way more than NA. Who likes to settle for AK-47s only.

    The SLAT armor would be a hit with the troops.
    While the CAGE armor is very aesthetically displeasing, it remains the only way to save a vehicle/MRAP/APC/TANK from the shaped charge design that makes the RPG a number one killer.

    • peccavi says:

      RPG armour no go help that vehicle abeg, it will just unbalance it. Treat it as a light patrol vehicle not an AFV

      • doziex says:

        You want to treat it like a light patrol vehicle, but it is clearly not that.

        After going thru the trouble of constructing an armored box for troop protection, why stop there ?
        With the likes of you, resisting the purchase of MRAPs at every turn, these are just makeshift alternatives to increase survival.

        The Nyala, buffell or cougar MRAPs would be my first choice, but in the absence of those, an uparmored hilux would suffice, just as uparmored Humvees once did.

      • peccavi says:

        You understand of course that I am not in charge of procurement or force structure in the Nigerian military shebi.
        MRAPs will not stop an RPG either, so I’m not sure of the logic of your statement.
        It is a light patrol vehicle, not a fighting vehicle. I doubt it can stop anything up to 5.56mm, if it could it would be too heavy to move on that chassis

  10. Colonel says:

    Hmmm…..interesting write ups!

  11. peccavi says:

    I don’t think its a MOWAG, watch the whole video where they pan around it., The turret shape is different. I was adamant it was a MOWAG and had a long argument about it, but it has more features of an OT64 than a MOWAG
    Oga asorockweb: the French ransom money goes along way bt it has to be shared with Ansaru. The one from the priest and the one they will get for the Italian priests and nuns will also help but much like AQIM, the one off windfalls are supplemented with regular income from smuggling networks.
    Ansaru has been quite severely decimated. They still exist but in what form and capability is unknown. Boko Haram has completely destroyed the Islamic fundamentalist brand in Northern Nigeria so anyone trying that nonsense is up for a hard time

  12. beegeagle says:

    Oga Peccavi, going back 47 years, the Nigerian Army has NEVER fielded any OT-62 or OT-64 APCs. What they fought the NCW with (scout cars/APCs/AFVs) were

    – Ferret scout cars
    – Saracen APCs
    – Saladin AFVs
    – Panhard AMLs

    They used bazookas, Carl Gustavs, 81mm/82mm mortars, 106 RRs, 105mm arty and 122mm arty for heavy weaponry.

    The Nigerian military only acquired L29 Delfin jets from Czechoslovakia during that war and Komar-type wooden hulled torpedo boats, 122mm arty, ZSU-23-4 SPAAG (first fielded in battle at the Umuahia-Uzuakoli front in 1968) from Russia.

    That totally forecloses the possibility that it was captured in battle from the NA. Where could it have come from – the nearest users of the type are the Sudanese and Libyan armies?

    • peccavi says:

      Libya or Sudan are good options.

      Its the kind of crap that would have been stole during the Ghaddafi free for all and Bh would buy, likewise if ex Sudanese mercs have come across they could have bought it with them.

      The thing is if it was a Nigerian vehicle I believe there would have been a close up of the markings/ VRN to run it in a bit more, theres non on the versions I’ve seen and all recent reports indicate some sort of APC is being used in attacks around Borno

  13. G8T Nigeria says:

    Good work proforce but i am confused with the logo on those vehicles. Put some nigerian touch and avoid copying too much.

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