Anti-Terror War: Borno Defends Deployment of Cameroonian Hunters
Kwiza Mbumbeh, Maiduguri
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno state, has said that the equipping of 150 Cameroonian vigilantes fight Boko Haram insurgency along troops is within Army’s rules of engagement.
Zulum’s Special Adviser on public relations and strategy, Isa Gusau,disclosed this Sunday in Maiduguri, the state capital.
Gusau reacted to last Thursday media publications, in which Dr. Ona
Ekhomu, President of Association of Industrial Security and Safety
Operators of Nigeria (AISSON) criticized Zulum for equipping 150 vigilantes to fight insurgents in northern Borno and Lake Chad region.
Ekhomu described the governor’s engagement of vigilantes in
counter-insurgency operations as a mistake and illegal disregard to nation’s sovereignty and Army.
His words: “I have read reports in at least five newspapers credited to my elder brother, who said with emphasis that Governor Babagana Zulum acted illegally by equipping 150 Cameroonian Vigilantes to join the fight against Boko Haram In Nigeria.”
“I say with no intent to disrespect Dr. Ekhomu, that his press statements were based on complete ignorance.
“The engagements of 150 Cameroon vigilantes happened, with the involvement of Army component in the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).”
He said they are currently fighting Boko Haram in eight regions affected by insurgency in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
He said Borno state government presented patrol vehicles and other logistics last week to Cameroonians and 5 Brigade of Nigerian Army, Damasak.
According to Gusau, the joint counter-insurgency operations are coordinated under the command of Nigerian Army component of MNJTF.
He said the engagement of vigilantes, was to generate and pass intelligence from border communities in Cameroon.
“This will enable them and pursue insurgents; who occasionally flee
from Nigerian territories to border communities in Cameroon where
Nigerian troops may be constrained to engage them,” he said.
“The cameroonian vigilantes are operating in parts of northern Borno located in the shores of the Lake Chad and they are operating under the coordination and command of the Nigerian Army component of the multinational task force. One of the key benefits of having these vigilantes is the latitude to generate and pass on intelligence from border
communities in Cameroon and to also pursue insurgents who occasionally flee from Nigerian territories to border communities in Cameroon where Nigerian troops may be constrained to engage them” Gusau said.
The spokesman explained that in addition to the full involvement of the Nigerian Army on the 150 Cameroonian vigilantes, Governor Zulum is member of the Lake Chad Governors Forum in which ”Governors of eight regions of
the Lake Chad Basin affected by Boko Haram are involved in cross-border cooperation on security.
That Lake Chad Governors Forum (to which Governors of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and their counterparts in five regions of Cameroon, Chad and Niger are members) was established with the involvement of the United Nation’s Security Council’s committee on counter terrorism and the federal government of all the countries.
The forum’s first meeting took place in Maiduguri in May 2018 and the second meeting held in Niamey, Niger Republic around July, 2019. The main objective of that forum is to ease cross border cooperation in the fight against boko haram in the affected countries.
I am surprised that Dr Ekhomu, who is a security consultant, is
not aware of all these measures set in place in the determined effort to deploy new approaches of fighting the boko haram”, Gusau said.
The spokesman, advised persons who speak to the media on security issues to take time to research on subject matters and get the facts before rushing to the press.