Nigerian journalist, Ahmad Salkida, known to have built close links with the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram and ISWAP on information generation has said that, the controversy created by the technical defeat of Boko Haram was created by the Buhari-led administration to achieve political gain rather than address the conflict sincerely in the lake chad region.
Salkida in a tweet yesterday, wrote that the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau has not recovered from the fallout of his extreme and tight-fisted rule, which led to a split in 2016.
He said, “Many may argue that the splinter group (ISWAP), is now as extreme as Shekau, but insiders disagree, that there is freedom of expression in ISWAP.
“To many insiders, the execution of an overrated Mamman Nur and two aid workers would have been carried out by Shekau if he was faced with similar situations. It is also on record that Shekau has executed dozens of his associates and has been the largest beneficiary of ransom.
“While SWAP is now bearing the brunt of recent, unequivocal detestation for ransom payments within and outside Nigeria, the govt could not find the much-needed expertise with access to the insurgents that can explore alternatives to ransom payments.
“On the aid workers, the thinking within ISWAP is, the aid workers were abducted inside a military facility during a raid, not in an IDP Camp, where they may have no problems overrunning? In the case of Leah, she is not merely seen as Christian, but daughter to a police officer.
“But what really went wrong that led to the public execution of two aid workers and another recent killing of local aid workers that was under reported? Are these executions limited to failure of negotiations or is it something much deeper? These are questions begging for answers.”
He said the failure of negotiations that led to the barbaric killings and the slavery status of Leah and Alice is confined to the contention that the government no longer wants to pay ransom.
“But there is evidence that the deadlock was mainly a credibility gap.
“There is a bubble that has been created that precludes the powers that be to understand that the strategy that worked yesterday, may not necessarily work today. It is much easier to succeed in a ransom deal, than when given the task of a robust process, limited to prisoner swap.
“In the past BH got deals that was more favourable to them, which clearly undermined military targets and objectives. They expected no less this time, but the state was adamant, but because of the limited options available to govt, the executions could not be deferred or averted.
“There have been ‘accomplishments’ that was akin to a Trojan horse, which also has created a false hope, that was far from reality. That may as well explain why many did not understand the gravity of the last paragraph in my report here –
“As appalling as this may sound, once a slave girl missed her menstrual circle, there may not be any negotiations for her release, and when the slave gives birth, she cannot be separated with her under 7 year-old-child, the alternatives are narrowed to only a military rescue operation.
“The fate of Leah and Alice is similar to those of the few surviving Chibokgirls in captivity today. Though the Chibok girls are not considered as slaves, but wives, however, BH ability to keep their most prized captives out of the radar confirms they have territorial control.
“Territorial holds do not mean BH lives in all the communities and rule over them, some of these territories are left with no semblance of governance, only occasional visits by the insurgents and when the military appears in these areas, the villagers are ‘rescued.’
“There is also an obvious knowledge gap about the conflict dynamics in the LakeChad and the govt and experts heavily rely on confessions of detainees instead of interactions with assets on the ground, this is how timely information is garnered and channeled into saving lives.
“As Shekau is believed to be boxed to the fringes of Gwoza, the military has halted its final push and inadvertently created a buffer between ISWAP & BH for them to eliminate one another. Will Shekau work out a rebound or will the military make the final push that may see his end?
ISWAP on the other hand, is buoyant, have dozens of local & Intl entry and exit routes in the region and have used this raining season to build up an armoury never seen before, yet they are struggling very hard to contain internal dissents from growing into major schisms.
“The growing voices of dissent within #ISWAP is more about a new generation of young jihadis trying to “take over from less adventurous old guards,” rather than a war between moderates and hardliners, as we are made to believe. The younger ones are eager to be on the global map.” Salkida said.
He added that, “the breakdown of law and order in Nigeria will not go away if we do not eliminate bad governance at all levels. Redefine the functions of institutions and never knock over the rules for any person or interest. Insist on ACCOUNTABILITY and this crisis will be contained.”
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