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Boko Haram: FG may engage US Marines – PUNCH

Strong indications have emerged that the Federal Government might enlist the services of international intelligence experts in its bid to arrest the raging Boko Haram insurgence in the country.

SATURDAY PUNCH investigations showed that the FG was considering the engagement of some United States troops, who are grounded in asymmetric warfare to complement the efforts of Nigerian security operatives.

An intelligence source told one of our correspondents on the condition of anonymity that while the FG was exploring several options to deal with Boko Haram’s threat to peace, the security chiefs had not briefed operatives of any such decision to bring in US Marines into the country to assist their Nigerian counterparts.

The source stated, however, that there were verbal discussions in security circles about the likelihood of engaging the US Marines in a concerted bid to combat the Boko Haram onslaught, the deadliest of which saw the killing of more than 200 people last week in Kano.

It was learnt that the leadership of the nation’s security had not circulated any signal in relation to the coming of the US troops.

The source stated, “The issue of the moves being made to bring in US Marines into Nigeria is being discussed in security circles.

“But I can tell you that no document relating to that has been circulated though people have been saying that the government is perfecting moves to engage the services of American troops because of the Boko Haram issue.

“What I’m not sure is whether the American troops will be coming to join us for combat or they are coming to team up with us in the area of intelligence and monitoring; that is, to play a discreet role. Those are two different things.”

On Monday, some prominent personalities from Borno State, who described themselves as Borno Elders and Leaders of Thought, placed an advertorial in a national daily, in which they cautioned the FG on the implication of bringing in US Marines into the country.

They advised the FG against engaging the American troops in the fight against Boko Haram on the premise that the nation did not have any defence pact with any country.

“We’re very much disturbed by newspaper reports echoed by international media houses and corroborated by certain clandestine statements by some highly-placed persons that American soldiers or Marines would be deployed in Nigeria.

“Though we feel that it is false, we hasten to caution that it is very much uncalled for. Since the Vietnam War till date, there has never been anywhere in the world American forces did anything good but destruction…”

The statement was signed by Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, a former Minister of Internal affairs, on behalf of 20 top Borno elders.

Some South-West leaders of thought also kicked against the FG’s move to forge a defence pact with the US as a way of ridding the country of the Boko Haram menace.

When our correspondent contacted the Minister of Defence, Dr. Mohammed Bello, on the telephone on Thursday, he said that he was not aware of such a move.

However, Bello said that he would find out if it was true or not.

He stressed that as the minister of defence, he would be aware if foreign troops were to be deployed in Nigeria to combat the Boko Haram insurrection.

“I can tell you categorically that I’m not aware of such a move and I can tell you also that the Nigerian military is not aware too.

“It cannot be true, but give me time to find out. I’m not aware of it because troops would not be mobilised to the country without my knowledge,” Bello said.

Similarly, the Director Defence Information, Col. Mohammed Yerima, said he was not aware of the planned deployment of American troops in Nigeria.

“I’m just hearing this from you. This is a political issue; it is a policy issue, we don’t know anything about it,” Yerima told SATURDAY PUNCH.

“I also read it from that advertorial by the Borno elders and I think that is their opinion.”

Shortly after the devastating attacks on security formations in Kano on Jan 20, the United States Deputy Assistant Secretary, Mr. William Fitzgerald, said in a critical meeting with the National Security Adviser, Gen. Owoye Azazi, and other FG officials that the Boko Haram insurgence had assumed a different dimension.

Fitzgerald said the US government had separated the Niger Delta from the regional security cooperation with the escalation of the Boko Haram activities in the North.

In his address, which was widely reported, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary conveyed the readiness of the US to render assistance to Nigeria to restore peace to the troubled North.

However, he was not specific on what manner the American intervention in the escalating terrorist attacks in the North would take.

“Today marks a new beginning, security issues in the North have taken up a new significance, so we have chosen to split the regional security cooperation and the Niger Delta. The regional security cooperation has its own working group, which will meet today and tomorrow.

“I bring on behalf of the US government, the deepest condolences on the heinous attacks that have taken place during the past few days; first in Kano and then Bauchi State.

“We deplore swiftly the reign of terror that has existed in the North of the country for many months. And we stand with you to work together to find a way to bring peace to the North,” Fitzgerald said.

Meanwhile, investigations showed that the Nigerian Army is undertaking a major troops deployment and movement of equipment in the north-western part of the country in response to the escalating activities of the Boko Haram in the region.

Before the Kano attacks, it was the belief in governmental circles that the security agencies had been able to restrict the activities of the Boko Haram to the North-East.

That perhaps explains the establishment of the Joint Task Force to focus on security maintenance in the North-East, where Boko Haram was believed to have its root and main operation base.

It was learnt that the army authorities had directed the additional deployment of soldiers to secure their barracks and to protect the civil populace from attacks in their areas.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Maj.-Gen. Raphael Isah, told one of our correspondents on Thursday that the army was only involved in some restructuring in some formations to curtail the emerging Boko Haram threat in the area.

He said that the army had a responsibility to complement the efforts of the police and other security agencies if they were overwhelmed.

Isah said, “We’re restructuring our formation around there to cope with the threat. Where more troops and equipment are required, they will be done.

“I won’t tell these boys that this is what we want. When the police and other security agencies have been overwhelmed, you expect the soldiers to complement the efforts of such agencies. That is the meaning of internal security operations.

“What do you expect when our sister agencies were attacked? It is nothing unusual,” he said.

3 Responses to “Boko Haram: FG may engage US Marines – PUNCH”

  1. Nura Sani Dutse says:

    We dont need US’s help, becouse they have nothing good to offer us. If they are capable of restoring peace in troubled countries, why cant they restore peace in iraq,afgan,somalia,etc. Infact before the US entered these countries, they were living in peace! US never restor peace but worsens situations in other countries.

  2. Said says:

    If our govt want to be fully govt,they must not allow any troop from any country especially west. This is soverien country, so let’s remain like that and don’t bring about another colonialism inside Nigeria.

  3. Theman says:



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