Taming Insurgents’ Menace


Whatever success the President Muhammadu Buhari administration may have recorded in the fight against insurgency has, unarguably, been diminished by the dastardly execution of two aid workers by Boko Haram terrorists within one month. And unless urgent actions are taken to tame the bloodletting monsters, the war against insurgency may suffer further setback.
The outrage already generated by the senseless killing of Miss Hauwa Liman, an aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on October 15, is a clear indication that such bestial act should not be allowed to continue.
Liman was abducted along with two other humanitarian aid workers at the Rann, Borno State Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in March, in an attack in which four soldiers, four policemen and three other aid workers were killed by the terrorists.
Her captors, however, killed her on October 15 after issuing a threat to that effect 24 hours earlier.
Liman’s execution, barely a month after that of Saifura Ahmed, another aid worker with the Red Cross, makes the situation more grievous. It was one cowardly execution too many; a despicable act of cruelty, which is also senseless, callous, inhuman and unjustifiable.
It is unfortunate that Liman’s commitment to help victims of Boko Haram insurgents in IDP camps ended in such a brutal way. We hope that the third abducted member of the team, Alice Ngaddah, will not suffer the same cruel fate.
It is against this backdrop that we call on the Federal Government to, without further delay, commence further negotiation for the safe release of other captives including Ngaddah and Leah Sharibu who have been in captivity since last year, and as well protect all aid workers who provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to the millions of displaced persons in the North East.
More importantly, the Federal Government needs to review its negotiation strategy with the terrorists to avoid further shedding of innocent blood. We say this because the Federal Government’s handling of the abduction of Liman and her co-aid workers fell short of international standard.
The Federal Government’s statement that it did everything possible to save Liman is contrite. We wonder why it took the government a very long time to engage the abductors of the health workers in meaningful discussions that could have led to their release.
We believe that the Federal Government had enough time, since March, to secure their release. We also believe that the government should have worked on the ultimatum handed out by the terrorists and secure Liman’s release. Or were the conditions given by the insurgents outside the scope of what the government could meet?
In a case that involves death threat, we do not expect government to wait for deadline from the terrorists before taking necessary actions to rescue captives. In other words, The Tide expects that any actions by the government and its allies on issues of insurgency and abduction should be quick and proactive so as to assuage the fears of Nigerians and the international community.
The mindless execution of the humanitarian aid workers should, therefore, serve as a wake-up call on the Federal Government to put in place proactive measures that could lead to total decimation of insurgents in the country. One of such measures is to identify sources of funding, arms and ammunition to the insurgents, mop up the source of recruitment for the terrorists, as well as policing all the nation’s entry points to check illegal movements by immigrants.
While we call on security agencies to improve on intelligence gathering, we also admonish the Federal Government to intensify efforts in collaborating with other countries to acquire advance technology such as satellite full-imagery device that can help in the fight against terrorism.
We also believe that dialogue and diplomacy is key to the fight against terrorism, and the government should not fail to make good use of this strategy. But where it fails, it is expected of government to apply force, taking into cognizance the safety of the captives to avoid casualties.
More fundamental to the fight against insurgency, particularly in the North East, is education. We want to state, for the umpteenth time, that the Federal Government, as well as the respective state governments, in the Northern part of the country, must prioritise education and make it attractive to the teeming youth population. Government should also provide meaningful employment for the youth so as to keep them away from the proverbial devil’s workshop.