Soldiers Tactically Withdrew For Reinforcement Not Ran Away inGudumbali... COAS. .
Maiduguri: Contrary to the widely spread speculations and earlier media reports (Not On The Nigerian Voice) on the Boko Haram terrorist attack on 81 Brigade Headquarters Gudumbali located at about 243 km from Maiduguri city, alleging the take over of the military base was today countered by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
The COAS straightened the previous impression while on assessment of the encounter at the military base. He earlier addressed troops of the 145 Battalion Headquarters Damasak, located at about 186 km from Maiduguri where he commended the bravery and commitment of the troops and officers on deployment.
He also urged them to remain steadfast and loyal to the call of duties while assuring them of his absolute support and encouragement.
At Gudumbali military base, after assessing the extent of destruction of military and LGC facilities and amenities including the headquarters of the brigade's newly constructed offices and other structures. While addressing journalists on the tour, the COAS stated that the unfortunate destruction of facilities in the military base as evident is woeful. He further stated that the returnee IDPs in Gudumbali is enough proof against earlier speculations and reports that nobody was in Gudumbali.
Buratai assured the troops and residents that security has been reinforced while measures will be taken to ensure continuous safety of lives and property of the Citizenry in the area in the interest of the nation and national security.
He added that the Nigerian Army was ever ready and prepared any time to protect and defend the nation against its enemies, stressing that, the Nigerian Army is ever ready to confront any challenge and has the equipment and manpower to tackle threats of enemies of the country.
General Buratai said, in war if your enemy unexpectedly attack you, you can tactically withdraw to reinforce fully and repel the attack which was exactly what happened in Gudumbali and normalcy has since returned to the area as troops have returned and the returned IDPs are in their homes.
He appealed to the government, humanitarian partners and other development partners to come out and assist the returnee IDPs with food and non food items as the residents appreciate the security provision by the military. A spokesperson of the IDPs, Bulama Baana Tike spoke to the COAS on behalf of the people of Gudumbali and explained their needs and problems.
The major problem of the people is water supply - lack of sources of hygienic water supply, farming and trading. They also complained of the military restricting their movements and closure of their market two weeks after their return.
Buratai assured them that the market will be reopened as he has directed the Theater Cimmander and GOC to reopen the market but with continuous security monitor to avoid infiltration by Boko Haram terrorists.
The COAS further called on the political stakeholders and the government to reconstruct all roads linking the areas to facilitate movement of troops in the terrain because the bad condition of the roads serve as a great threat to the movement of troops deployed in the area.
Buratai also noted that the Nigerian Army has the largest population, capacity and equipments or weapons among the Nigerian armed forces and doing its best all over the country in protecting and defending the integrity of the country.
According to him, the bad road network was responsible to the slow pace of counter Insurgency war in the Northeast and urged the concerned civil authorises to fix the roads.
" You are all living witnessed to the bad road we went through yesterday. It is the responsibility of the civil authorities to fix the road. If we are called upon to fix the roads, we will do it because with good road, 50 percent of our job will be done, as there will be quick response", Buratai said .
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.. General Tukur Buratai who was in Gudumbali barely 3 days after Boko Haram attacked Gudumbsli, the headquarters of Guzamala local government area, said that his troops have been reorganised to stem future Boko Haram attacks on military base or innocent Nigerians .
He added that the recent increased spate of Boko Haram attacks on military formations in Borno were as a result of closing up of their hideouts on the fringes of Lake Chad by the military.
General Buratai said " sometimes in such kind of war there must be setbacks, but these setbacks are being addressed because we are looking at it critically. We will not allow what happened to happen again ".
" No. Gudumbali was never captured, so the issue of recaptured does not arise, our troops has been on ground, they only tactically moved out of this place and returned.
" We are going to have complete reorganisation of our redeployment, which is already ongoing. we will do everything possible to defend our nation from external aggression and internal insurgency," Buratai said.
He also said "I came to see the extent of damage that was done as a result of what happened. It is good for us to look at it critically because of the importance and the role Gudumbali played in this operation and the interest."
The COAS assured the residents of military protection and urged them to always assist the military with information to end insurgency.
In an interview with journalists in Gudumbali, Alhaji Modu Bukar, a returnee IDP said , "the boko haram insurgents who came on Friday at about 17:00 pm started attacking the military base in Gudumbali.
" They burnt down all the military formations in the Town but they did not touch any civilian, because according to him they said there were not in town to fight Civilians."
He said " the presence of the military has given us encouragement. We are going to resist them, we are not going to run back and stay in IDP camps. We will stay to protect our ancestral home but.we want the military to reopen our markets that was closed for 3 weeks and also allow us to go back to our farms," Bukar said.
It could be recalled that the Boko Haram insurgents attacked a military base in Zari, nine days before they finally attacked 81 Task Force Brigade in Gudumbali town.
On his way to Gudubali, which is about 243 kilometers away from Maiduguri, General Buratai stopped over in Danasak and addressed the troops of 145 balloon headquarters Damasak, where he boosted their morale.
The Nigerian Voice correspondent who was in the COAS entourage reports that despite the security challenges they left Damasak at about 7:00pm and arrived Monguno at about 15 minutes before midnight. They spent the night at Kinsars Cantonment Monguno which is about 170 km from Maiduguri before returning to Maiduguri town Thursday evening.