The National Security Adviser (NSA), Brig Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd) has disclosed that the military has taken out the new leader of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) jihadist group, Malam Bako, who succeeded Abu Musab al-Barnawi.
Recall that last week, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, confirmed the death of the leader of ISWAP, al-Barnawi.
Speaking to State House correspondents on Thursday after the National Security Council meeting, the NSA said the military has recorded tremendous success against the terrorists.
According to him ,”Now, the fact again is that the land forces have done an excellent job because, in the span of one month, we’ve been able to take out the leadership of the Islamic State 0f West Africa Province, that is Abu Musab al-Barnawi. Two days ago, the man who succeeded him, one Mallam Bako, who is also one of the prominent leaders of the Shura Council of the Islamic State of West Africa Province, was also taken out.
“Which means basically Shekau is out, Abu al-Barnawi is out, now Mallam Bako is out. They’re also contending with leadership and you know these things are also accompanied by a lot of inherent issues of trust, conflict, mutual suspicion, and other things.
“So, the operations being conducted by the armed forces in the northern part of the country, that is Operation Thunderstrike, Operation Hadarin Daji, Operation Gama Aiki, Operation Dukan Guduma, if you aggregate these operations, they put a lot of pressure on the leadership of the of the Islamic State of West Africa Province, Boko Haram and also the tangential group known as Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
“Now, the successes of the land forces have also been reinforced by the activities of the Air Force. The Air Force has carried out a lot of interdiction missions and so far the number of missions they’ve carried out has yielded a lot of successes, especially in supporting other operations like the operations in the North-Central, Operation Safe Haven in the Plateau, then Operation Well Stroke in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states, while at the same time they’ve also supported operations in the South-East, Operation Golden Dawn, and in the South-South, Operation Delta Safe.
For the Nigerian Navy, the NSA said it has not experienced the type of success it has experienced in the last six months.
“I can tell you on authority that the Nigerian Navy, under the leadership of the Chief of the Naval Staff, has recorded so much success in the maritime domain.
“What it has done in the last six months is to deploy its maritime domain awareness capabilities or assets to deal with the situation in the maritime domain, that is using the Falcon Eye and using the regional maritime awareness capability.
“What this has resulted in is that in the last quarter, the third quarter of this year, there has not been a single incident of piracy or sea robbery in our entire maritime domain.
“This has been acknowledged, not just by our own governmental services, but by the International Maritime Bureau. On the 14th of July, they sent out a dispatch in which the dispatch stated that in the last 27 years, the entire international community, the maritime community has not experienced the type of success that has been recorded by the Nigerian Navy and this was also endorsed by the defense web on the 16th of October in another dispatch.
“Again, to buttress my point, the Nigerian Navy has also been able to reestablish the presence of the military in the Lake Chad area, which has been abandoned for a long time.
“Not only have they re-established the presence of our military elements, but they’ve also re-activated the College of Fisheries in Baga. So, you can see that the Army, Navy, Air Force, the entire armed forces, have been doing a very tremendous job and being supported by the intelligence services.”
The NSA also said only two days ago, the DSS was able to apprehend and taken in the successor of the notorious gangster in Benue State known Gana.
“So, his own successor, whose name is Chekere Kefas Aondofa, has been arrested. His other name is Azonto. As soon as he was apprehended by the DSS, his own successor was arrested also about 16 hours ago.
“So, you can see that, despite all the challenges we’re having, the armed forces and the intelligence agencies have been able to find a way to work in synergy to link together, work harmoniously to ensure that we have greater success in the theatre of operation. Of course, President Buhari, in as much as he’s satisfied with the actions of our defense and security forces, has also urged them not to relent.
“Of course, as a retired general, he knows that in operations, there will always be loss. Sometimes, victory begets other issues like complacency, lethargy, and other things, but he has stated clearly that we must bring this thing to an end, working, of course, in partnership with our regional colleagues,” he said.