The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has declared that Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria’s north-east are now nothing but bandits and armed robbers.
According to him, there is no longer insurgency but the current situation in the region is purely criminality and banditry.
Buratai stated this on Friday after several hours of a closed-door meeting with the Military High Command in Borno State.
The meeting held a day after Channels Television reported that at least 20 soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole were missing while the bodies of nine others were recovered in Gudumbali town.
The soldiers were said to have been ambushed by the insurgents at a Granda village, engaging them overnight from Monday until the early hours of Tuesday this week.
Despite the recent attacks in parts of the North-East, Buratai insisted that the insurgents were criminals and called for the support of Nigerians to wipe them from the region.
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Colonel Sagir Musa, read out the declaration of the army chief to waiting journalists at the end of the meeting.
He backed the new position of the army with the fact that the criminals “no longer pretend to be championing any cause other than the quest for materialism as manifested in murder and terror on hapless people.”
Musa, however, said the force was worried about what he called the increased propaganda and undue publicity given to the remnants of the “erstwhile Boko Haram terrorist group” by some individuals.
The worrisome development, according to him, has further boosted the image of the criminal gang as referring to the criminals as Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria amounts to encouraging terrorism.
The army spokesman called on Nigerians not to glorify them by calling them by any name other than criminals, rapists, kidnappers, armed robbers, and murderers.
Read the full statement issued by Musa below:
The Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai has noted with great concern the increased propaganda and undue publicity given to the remnants of the erstwhile Boko Haram terrorist group by some people.
This worrisome development has further boosted the image of the criminal gang thus assuming larger than life status. He made the plea while visiting troops in the North East.
He, therefore, pointed out that it is wrong for any person to eulogise or support murderers, bandits and armed robbers that the known Boko Haram terrorist group has turned into.
Consequently, referring to such gang of criminals, bandits, insurgents such as Boko Haram Terrorists Group, JAS or ISWAP in Nigeria could amount to supporting or encouraging terrorism.
The Chief of Army Staff said that it is also important to note that the mode of operation of these elements, is pure criminality for personal gains.
It is common knowledge that the criminals no longer pretend to be championing any cause other than quest for materialism as manifested in murder and terror on hapless people.
He pleaded that as peace loving people, Nigerians should not be glorifying these criminals by calling them by any name other than “criminals,” “rapists,” “kidnappers”, “armed robbers” and “murderers.”
Unfortunately, many Nigerians are not aware that giving prominence to the criminal activities of the terrorist group through sensational headlines and fake news in both electronic and print media could also amount to tacit support to terrorism which violates the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011.
It is, therefore, important that all Nigerians rally round our gallant troops as they fight these criminals.
All should know that the support to the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the counter terrorism efforts would boost their morale and it will be highly appreciated.
The Nigerian Army is asking for the continued understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians and well-meaning people.
He further stated that all troops have been enjoined to henceforth go all out to deal decisively with these criminals.
They are nothing but bandits and armed robbers. Let’s support our military to ensure a secured Nigeria.
Acting Director Army Public Relations
13 September 2019.