Options of joint operations exercises suggested Nigeria’s current Armed Forces estimated number put 160,000-240,000   Senator Iroegbu The military veterans have offered advise to the Nigerian government on sustainable solutions to the lingering security crisis across the country, especially the counter-insurgency operations against Boko Haram terrorists, bandits and farmer-herders conflict. To this end, the concerned…

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  • Options of joint operations exercises suggested
    Nigeria’s current Armed Forces estimated number put 160,000-240,000

Senator Iroegbu

The military veterans have offered advise to the Nigerian government on sustainable solutions to the lingering security crisis across the country, especially the counter-insurgency operations against Boko Haram terrorists, bandits and farmer-herders conflict.

To this end, the concerned war veteran and security expert warned that the number of troops currently on the tanks of Nigerian security agencies, especially those deployed for the counter-terrorism and internal security operations across the country are not enough.

Recently, Global Sentinel reported how Nigerian Army has resorted to deployment of battle-fatigued soldiers back to the war front barely months after being relieved from four to five years of non-stop fighting to exhaustion against terrorists in the North East.

According to the military authorities, such severe measures were taken because of lack of experienced officers and soldiers, particularly those of the infantry corps.

To mitigate what many stakeholders have warned as a serious security threat and a disaster waiting to happen, the former Spokesperson of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Group Captain Sadeeq Shehu (rtd), has called for urgent steps to increase the number of troops on group.

Shehu’s intervention was contained in a Facebook post he made on Sunday, titled: ‘More Boots on the Ground are Needed in the North East to Clear, Hold And Dominate the Ground to End Boko Haram’.

He said that “extrapolating from studies carried out by counter insurgency experts, examining over 40 counter insurgency operations all over the world ,(both successful and unsuccessful ones), we could estimate with some measure of accuracy, the number of troops, the troop density required for any counter insurgency operation to have a chance of succeeding within a relatively short time.

“Success in counter insurgency operation (as opposed to success in a conventional war)is not counted based on towns captured/ destroyed or enemies killed but rather on the ability to saturate the area with troops in such a sufficient number that would convince the local populations to stay and continue normal life in guaranteed security.”

The security, conflict and counter-terrorism expert, said that arising from studies, Nigeria need nothing less than 200,000 troops on the ground, in Borno Adamawa and Yobe states to achieve success within a reasonably “short” time.

“I do not think we have ever assembled 100,000 troops in the north east. And when we talk of such required troop density ,we are assuming well trained well equipped and well resourced troops in terms of equipment, mobility, communication and sustenance assets,” he added.

Shehu who is an Adjunct Professor at the George C. Marshall Centre, Germany, further warned that “without these numbers, I fear it may be a long drawn out war of attrition….a ding dong affair with neither Boko Haram succeeding in establishing their so called caliphate/holding territory, nor the Nigerian armed forces obtaining a complete, decisive victory….only maybe a ‘technical defeat’ of dubious value”.

He said that given that apart from North East, the country have ongoing conflicts in North West, North Central, to some extent Niger Delta regions–all unfortunately being handled mainly by the military.

Added to this, he said, are commitments in international peacekeeping operations, of which Nigerian soldiers were killed and wounded in Mali on Sunday.

“You can do the Maths on how short Nigerian military is in terms of numbers….not to talk of equipment. Note that unofficial estimates put the Nigerian armed forces at figures ranging from 160000 to 240000, depending on your source,” he stressed.

Shortage of manpower and option of airmobile operations

The former Deputy Director of Air Operations, NAF, Air Commodore Abayomi Balogun (rtd), has also intervened in the current shortage of manpower with a suggestion for increased airmobile operations to support the available ground and naval forces.

Abayomi who is Liberian, Syrian Leone and North East war veteran also noted that constant Joint Operations Exercises (JOPEC) is the best way to achieve meaningful success during campaigns.

The author of the ‘Nigerian Air War in Sierra Leone’ in his Facebook post on Sunday, cautioned that without JOPEX, Nigerian military “shall be singing discordant tunes and lack the knowledge to understand ourselves talk less of strategies or tactics to be employed.

“Like the aircrew traditionally do, emergencies are practiced in simulators where you can make mistakes and crash your aircraft and still be alive.”

On the issue of troops strength, he suggested as follows :

  • Pool available resources together for maximum impact at any point.
  • Select our battles carefully, analyse and prioritize.
  • We may not require a Brigade strength to do this as what we require is compact rapid team.
  • This air mobile team could be deployed rapidly to any point as required.

Abayomi said that “the AIRMOBILE team should be composed of special forces backed with helicopter gunships, ISR platforms and utility helicopters for insertion and extractions.

“If we pick our battles carefully, we may not overstretch ourselves and may prevail”.

The post Insecurity: ‘More boots on ground, airmobile operations’ needed to defeat Boko Haram, insurgents–Military Veterans appeared first on Global Sentinel.

Source:Global Sentinel