Nigeria blames foreign powers for IS incursions

Sunday May 5 2019

People salvage their belongings following an

People salvage their belongings following an attack at Sajeri village on the outskirts of Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on January 8, 2019 by fighters of the Islamic State-backed Boko Haram that killed three people. The Nigerian army has blamed individuals, groups and foreign powers for supporting the jihadists. PHOTO | AUDU MARTE | AFP  

MOHAMMED MOMOH
By MOHAMMED MOMOH
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After suffering losses at the hands of militia associated with an Islamic State division and Boko Haram, the Nigeria army command now blames individuals, groups and foreign interests for aiding the terror groups.

The Director of Army Public Relations Col. Sagir Musa told Africa Review that the groups were being funded by unnamed forces to undermine peace and integrity in Nigeria and West Africa as a whole.

He also added a political motive saying the attacks that have been occurring almost daily in the northern states of Gombe, Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa, and Sokoto sought to disrupt democracy and the inauguration on May 29 of President Muhammadu Buhari's second term in office on May 29.

"It is noted with great concern, efforts by some unpatriotic individuals, groups and foreign interests determined to cause mischief and exacerbate the security situation in this country in particular, and West African Sub-region.

These persons and groups are making concerted efforts to further induce the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP)/Boko Haram terrorists and bandits with funds and other logistic supports," Col. Musa said.

Relying on intelligence, the spokesman said there were correspondence between the individuals and Boko Haram, adding that others were talking ill of the security operation.
"Their body language and unguarded utterances seem to imply tacit support for the criminals. Others are deliberately churning out falsehood and fake news against security agencies with a view to setting the military against the people and the government," he said.
"They want to derail the scheduled handing over later this month and to scuttle the democratic process in the country," he warned.

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He said foreign interests were working to divide the coalition Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to give room for ISWAP and its local franchise Boko Haram to resurrect,” he said on Sunday in Abuja.

He vowed the military would continue to fight the remnants of "Boko Haram terrorists and their sympathisers".

Mr Buhari, 76, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 15 million votes against former vice president Atiku Abubakar, 72, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 11 million votes in the March 2019 election.

Mr Abubakar is contesting the elections in court. Both Buhari and Abubakar are from the North and members of the predominantly Muslim Fulani community.
Since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the results banditry and kidnappings have escalated in the North leaving more than 2900 people dead.
The military, including the Air Force, has been deployed in the affected states in addition to other forces, including militia organised by some communities, to counter the resurgence of Boko Haram in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

On Friday Boko Haram jihadists seized a military base in northeast Nigeria, days after an attack left five troops dead and 30 missing.

Security sources and residents said the raid into the base in the town of Magumeri, 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the Borno state capital Maiduguri was led by a column of IS-affiliated (ISWAP) in trucks and on motorcycles.
The militants overran the base, hauling away weapons before they were forced out after four hours.

Reinforcements were called from another base in Gubio, 46 kilometres away.

Last week, the jihadists raided a military base in Mararrabar Kimba, 135 kilometres from Maiduguri, killing five troops and stealing weapons, while some 30 troops are listed as missing.

ISWAP has since July last year targeted dozens of military bases in attacks where jihadists kill scores of soldiers.

Boko Haram's decade-long campaign of violence has killed 27,000 people and displaced around two million in Nigeria.

The conflict has also spilled over into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to defeat the jihadist group.

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