It is another round of anxiety over the state of fighting between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram insurgents who have been on the offensive in recent days. While Major- General Lamidi Adeosun, the Chief of Training and Operations of the Nigerian Army as well as military spokesperson, Brigadier-General Sani Usman who spoke differently insist the military is absolutely in control, contrary snippets by those around the area suggest the entire Multinational Joint Task Force, (MNJTF) is under siege. General Adeosun said yesterday “we have taken control of Baga”. Brigadier-General Sani Usman also said basically the same thing when he spoke to the VOA Friday afternoon. He said the Nigerian Army is in control and the attack had been repelled.
Whether it was a deadly attack or unsuccessful attempt, it is disconcerting because Boko Haram should be nowhere in a position to mount any offensive of note by now. That they are able to do so raises questions. Could Gen Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, be right to say it is no longer the generic Boko Haram Nigeria is fighting now but the Islamic State West Africa Province? Does the new variant make the insurgents deadlier, either in numerical strength or sophistication in terms of arming? The MNJTF is said to be made up of the most deadly squads in the contributing countries’ military establishment. What might then be happening? President Buhari had to go to Chad in the aftermath of the Metele attack. Thirdly, is inter-service coordination a problem?
In a total war situation, experts say, it is not only the men under arms who fight. But how might Nigerians carry out symbolic acts of solidarity with the troops if they have no clear idea of what is going on? Truth in a sense of grisly details of the war may not be strategic but guarding against a false sense of security may be necessary. As reassuring as the denials by the Military High Command about who controls Baga, a state of scary riot of claims does not augur well for national health. This is particularly so as the insurgents could come up with their own claims.