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‘Why Kaduna is vulnerable to attacks despite military presence’


‘Why Kaduna is vulnerable to attacks despite military presence’

• Terrorists raid military base, kill 17 soldiers in Kaduna
• Reps, Amaechi, service chiefs meet, pledge to turn tide on insecurity


Members of the National Assembly, yesterday, resumed plenary, placing last week’s terrorist attack on a Kaduna-bound train on the front burner. While the leadership of the House of Representatives held a closed-door meeting with service chiefs over recent upsurge in insecurity across the country, the Senate once again urged President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency declare a full-fledged war on terrorists.

Just as the lawmakers were engaged in a marathon meeting with service chiefs, the military base at Pole Wire in Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State, was attacked by terrorists who killed no fewer than 17 soldiers and three civilians during a fierce gun battle.

Experts in the security sector have identified key reasons military bases in Northeast and Northwest have suffered frequent attacks by terrorists. If the presence of military institutions were to guarantee peace, safety and protection, Kaduna State would have emerged as the most peaceful and protected entity in Nigeria. Kaduna is blessed with not only elite military establishments but is also home to the largest number of respectable military institutions, making the state the envy of other parts of Nigeria.


Unlike other states with the presence of one military base, a police command and a few security outfits, Kaduna has no fewer than 13 military establishments spread across the state. These are not mean institutions, and are manned by many top officials.

But one is left to wonder how one state managed to be so blessed with such a large number of elite military agencies, with both intimidating artillery weapons and infantry personnel with global battlefield medals, is battered by bandits.

A security analyst, Mr Christopher Oji, said: “Terrorists see soldiers as enemies and as their enemies, they are the first target, so they are vulnerable to attack.

“Secondly, soldiers are seen as the most formidable security agency and once they are able to subdue the military, then the country belongs to them.


“I will want to believe that terrorists have infiltrated the military to the extent that the enemies within are giving out their colleagues to the terrorists. This is where the government has its own blame.

“How can the government conscript some repentant terrorists into the army? These people don’t repent. The government should do something drastic to avert more damages.”

Another security expert, Frank Oshanugo, said: “The vulnerability of military bases to bandits or terrorists’ attacks could stem from two things, one of which is that since the military is the only institution that has what it takes to thwart whatever jihadist intentions the terrorists or bandits have, the best thing to do, is to weaken the powers of the military through such attacks.


“The second reason may be insider conspiracy by those who may be benefitting from the effects of such attacks. Each time bandits or terrorists strike leaving some damages behind, there are usually those who are charged with the responsibility of replacing those damaged items at government expenses. They may be benefitting heavily in the replacement process.”

Former DSS Director, Dennis Amachree, wondered aloud: “Why military bases? I think the question will be, why Kaduna, because the city has a concentration of more than eight military and security facilities. The terrorists feel very emboldened and are making a serious statement about their capability to take on the Nigerian military by hitting Kaduna.

I still maintain that there is more than meets the eyes.”
AT the military base at Pole Wire in Birnin-Gwari, where terrorists killed at least 17 soldiers, locals said terrorists, in large number, came to the area on motorbikes, wielding dangerous weapons, including Rocket Propelled Guns (RPGs).

A source said 17 soldiers were killed in the attack. “About 40 fatally wounded soldiers were brought to the 44 Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, from where 17 of them were confirmed dead,” he said.

Another source in Birnin Gwari said apart from the soldiers, three civilians were killed. “The two civilians were members of a vigilance group, while one was a traveller,” he said.

Attempts to confirm the casualty figures from military authorities in Kaduna and from the state police command were not successful. However, journalists gathered that the terrorists were moving from Niger State to Zamfara, through their usual route in the Birnin-Gwari area.

“The soldiers were overpowered by the terrorists who came in large number on motorbikes. The terrorists burnt down three military armoured vehicles, stole armaments and other properties,” the source said.

THE House of Representatives was last week provoked by the service chiefs’ shunning of its invitation in the aftermath of the deadly attack on the train and another attack on the Kaduna Airport.

A visibly angry Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, who presided over the plenary, had expressed disappointment with the officials for sending representatives. The lawmakers sent back the representatives of the security heads, insisting their chiefs must appear in person.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, before going into a closed-door session yesterday, with the Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, service chiefs, heads of intelligence agencies and paramilitary heads, said the meeting was to figure out how to rescue Nigeria from the rising level of insecurity and to demand answers about measures being put in place to end the menace.

After over five hours of deliberations, Gbajabiamila, who spoke briefly to newsmen, said the meeting sought to know if there are moles in the military and other security agencies that may have been responsible for the heightening insecurity.



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