It has emerged that despite the presence of over 1,000 well armed Nigerian troops in Mubi and its environs in Adamawa State, it took just a handful of 30 Boko Haram insurgents to capture the commercial city last October without firing a shot.
The development, THISDAY learnt, forms the fulcrum of the series of ongoing investigations and court martials by the military high command, which has blamed the capture of Mubi and other towns in Adamawa and Borno States on sabotage by sympathetic northern troops and some of their commanders who refused to fight the insurgents.
Military sources, who opened up on what transpired in several of the attacks by Boko Haram in the two states between September and October this year, revealed that the insurgents would not have succeeded had the troops who were deployed in several of the towns and villages that were overrun by the insurgents, defended the areas diligently.
“Those soldiers refused to fight, despite being better armed than the insurgents and instead ran away when only 30 insurgents invaded Mubi and its environs and captured the area without firing a shot. Instead of telling the truth they lie on social media and politicians lie on their behalf that the federal government is not arming them to fight Boko Haram.W
“When Mubi was deserted, more insurgents followed suit and raided several establishments, especially banks in the town. In the Diamond Bank branch alone, they carted away over N100 million.
“The terrorists also invaded deserted military formations in Mubi and Bama (Borno State) where they stole arms and armoured tanks that they could not even operate. As such, they have been soliciting for the assistance of retired army personnel to help them to operate the tanks,” a military source informed THISDAY.
He further disclosed that when the military high command got wind of the sabotage by its own troops, it was so incensed that it proceeded to arrest hundreds of the soldiers and their commanders of northern origin and replaced them with non-Muslim, southern troops comprising mainly Yoruba and Igbo as well as troops from minority areas who were deployed from the Owerri brigade.
“Once we deployed more non-Muslim troops from Owerri in small companies, we started getting results, as they collaborated with civilian vigilante groups and local hunters in Adamawa, which enabled us to flush out the insurgents within a short period from Mubi and its environs.
“Our advances to flush out the insurgents continues to gain momentum and the troops have surrounded Madagali and other towns right now in order to recover lost territories,” he said.
He added that the success recorded by the military in curtailing attacks by the sect had been evident in recent weeks, saying: “If you noticed, they have resorted to using suicide bombers and hit and run tactics, as they are finding it difficult to hold on to territories.
“Unlike in the past, the Yuletide season was also relatively peaceful. That tells you that we have the upper hand and they are on the run.”
Despite the optimism expressed by the military source, THISDAY learnt that the ongoing offensive against Boko Haram in the north-east continues to encounter hiccups due to the high level conspiracy by some elements in the northern intelligentsia and elite to thwart the efforts of the federal government to end the insurgency.
THISDAY discovered that the renewed onslaught tagged “Operation No Mercy” has encountered well-orchestrated opposition from certain forces in the North who are not comfortable with the upper hand gained by the military in recent weeks.
An intelligence source disclosed that the elements averse to the operation are claiming that an all-out bombardment against the terrorists in occupied territories could lead to unacceptable “collateral damage”.
The source said the military and other security forces had been hampered by the myriad of protest letters by some emirs and political office holders claiming that some of their wives and daughters are being held captive in the areas.
Investigations further revealed that the forces sabotaging the operation cut across the military, traditional and political institutions in the north.
“We have been inundated with letters from emirs, even political office holders demanding that we should not venture further into those contended areas.
“They warned that there could be dire consequences should the military implement their all-out attack against Boko Haram terrorists in some of those strategic towns including Bama, Gwoza, Gamboru Ngala and others,” a source said.
The source recalled that the Borno Elders Forum (BEF) and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) had used the same reason to fiercely oppose the more aggressive approach adopted by the former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), that was effective in tackling the Boko Haram Islamic sect in the North-east over a year ago.
“You would notice that accusations of human rights violations against the military is a constant weapon being applied by these elements to impede the war against the sect,” he stated.
He also revealed that the sect had effectively wiped out emirs and influential northerners who have expressed outrage over the wanton destruction of lives and property by the sect, while leaving out those who have tacitly supported the heinous acts of Boko Haram.