Nigerian military incapable of holding recaptured territories from insurgents – U.S.

The United States Department of State is concerned that the Nigeria Military is unable to effectively secure and hold onto territories recaptured from Boko Haram terrorists despite the successes recorded by the Multi-National joint task force, MNJTF.

The conclusion is contained in the United States country report on terrorism for the year 2016 submitted to the US Congress in compliance with the title 22 of the US Code.

The report, published on July 19, highlights the successes and failings of the Nigerian Army in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists, indicates that the Federal government’s progress report on the fight against terror is merely a duplication of failed efforts carried over from the end of last year’s fighting season.

It says the Nigerian government has not been able to rebuild civilian structures and institutions in areas captured. Just as it has not been able to rescue the remaining Chibok school girls abducted in 2014.

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The report read, “Despite gains made by the MNJTF, much of its reported progress was merely a duplication of failed efforts carried over from the end of the last dry/fighting season. The Nigerian military was unable to hold and rebuild civilian structures and institutions in those areas it had cleared.”

“Most of the remaining students abducted by BH in Chibok remained in captivity, although one girl was found in Borno, and the Government of Nigeria successfully negotiated the release of 21 of the kidnapping victims.”

According to the report, terrorist activity accounted for the displacement of nearly two million persons in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobes.

Although it notes that the Nigerian government continued to facilitate the return of internally displaced persons to their home communities, it said this was sometimes done without first putting “appropriate conditions in place for safe, informed, and voluntary returns”.

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It adds, “There was no evidence in 2016 of the implementation of a coordinated plan to restore civilian security in recaptured territories.”In partnership with international donors, the Nigerian government set up several institutions to coordinate the reconstruction of areas destroyed by the conflict in the northeast.”

The report equally accused the Nigerian government of failing to get help from regional organisations.

It says, “The Nigerian government has not invested significant resources or time enlisting regional organisations, such as the Economic Organisation of the West African States and Economic Community of Central African States, to assist with the BH problem.

“Instead, the Government of Nigeria preferred to engage BH militants in direct, unilateral military action and through the MNJTF, which is headed by a Nigerian military officer.”