BOKO HARAM’S LINKS WITH MALI TERRORISTS MEANS MORE TROUBLE FOR NIGERIA- BURATAI

Olaleye Aluko and Godwin Isenyo

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Monday, said Boko Haram terrorists had strong links with terror groups in northern Mali.

The Army chief expressed concern about the security threats posed to Nigeria by the development from that region.

Buratai said this while receiving Mali’s Chief of Army Staff, Col. Babi Abdulrahman, at the Army Headquarters, Abuja.

He stated that Boko Haram’s links with Mali was confirmed with the arrest of two Boko Haram recruiters in Senegal and Mali.

He said, “Nigeria and Mali are confronted with a similar security threat of terrorism. As the threat grows globally, it is important for us to partner and tackle this menace.

“The Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria have been investigated to have links with terror groups in northern Mali.

“This is proved with the arrest of two Boko Haram recruiters in Senegal and Mali. We are ready to cooperate with you on fighting terrorism.

“The threats in northern Mali are direct threats to Nigeria because of the established relationship between the Boko Haram and armed groups in Mali.

“In Nigeria, the height of the Boko Haram insurgency was in August 2014, when the terrorists declared Gwoza as a caliphate, but we have been able to decimate the terrorists.

“Some of the terrorists still carry out attacks on isolated and remote areas of the North-East, but we are not resting on our oars.”

The Malian army chief, Abdulrahman, said the aim of the visit was to explore areas of military cooperation between the two countries, adding that the Malian army had a lot to learn from its Nigerian counterpart.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army on Monday also inaugurated a new base in Giri, an area on the outskirts on the Federal Capital Territory.

Buratai, who inaugurated the base, said it was established to enhance the welfare of officers as well as boost security in the area.

Also on Monday, Buratai charged 70 commanding officers of the Army to remain vigilant as Boko Haram insurgents had been moving to safe havens in other parts of country.

“The insurgents are now in disarray, attacking soft and defenceless targets, and withdrawing to safer havens in other parts of the country,” he said at the opening of a five-day workshop for the officers in Kaduna.

The Army Chief, who was represented by the Commander, Nigerian Army Training and Doctrine Command, Maj. Gen. Rasheed Yusuf, believed that the military would decimate the remaining terrorists.

The COAS added, “I therefore charge you to be vigilant and security- conscious within your areas of responsibility so that the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents are fished out.

“I want to assure you that the Nigerian Army, under my command, will continue to remain focused and reinvigorated to fulfil its mission.

“To this end, the Nigerian Army will do all that are humanly feasible to provide all logistics and operational requirements necessary to contain the security challenges faced by the country in the course of carrying out our constitutional role.”

Buratai noted that the Boko Haram insurgency, militancy, pipeline vandalism, cattle rustling, kidnapping, ethno-religious crisis, armed robbery and other crimes had remained serious security challenges in the country.

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