The Nigerian military has drafted reinforcement troops from some of its formations fighting insurgency in Borno State to join the troops in the South-East region over the military’s clash with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its security arm, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
Military sources confirmed to SaharaReporters that the reinforcements were drawn from some battalions including the 231 Tank Battalion in Biu, Borno State, which is under the 3 Armoured Division, Jos, Plateau State.
As of January 2021, the Commanding Officer of the 231 Battalion, Biu, was a southerner, Lt. Col. M. E. Obi, who is ordinarily versed with the workings of the South-East, but it is not sure whether he will be in the South-East alongside the reinforcements.
“Yes, some troops are moving from the North-East to the South-East as reinforcements. They started moving from Wednesday. Among them are those from the 231 Tank Battalion; they are believed to be more trained in quelling uprisings,” a top source confirmed.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday held a meeting with the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, telling them to adopt certain security measures in the South-East and the South-South geopolitical zones of the country.
SaharaReporters had on Tuesday reported that military sources familiar with the development said some of the measures which Buhari approved for the two zones were regular operational procedures to curb the growing violence.
“The police and military have been recording casualties in the South-East during raids and gun battles with the criminals disturbing the region. Therefore, the focus would shift more to air power in the coming weeks. Combat helicopters and other aircraft would be deployed to conduct massive raids on the hideouts from the air. It does not matter whether the hideouts are for the Indigenous People of Biafra or its armed outfit, what the military is looking for are criminals,” the source had revealed.
“There is also the likelihood of arrest of more traditional rulers, community heads and chiefs by the security agencies to extract key information. The army and police believe that the traditional and community intelligence will be important to suppress the IPOB and ESN uprising. The South-East states have to warn their traditional rulers against conniving with the agitators. You see how many traditional rulers were arrested, sanctioned, detained and dethroned in the North-West for conniving with bandits. The same table is turning to the South-East and South-South regions,” another security source had revealed.
SaharaReporters had gathered that the police and the army operatives were still conducting intelligence operations in the South-East and South-South, and will intensify their reach based on the new President’s directive.
SaharaReporters had reported on May 3 that security officials, due to the precarious situation had deserted their stations, and now prefer to go to work in mufti the few times they go there.
It had been gathered that most policemen, particularly those who are not Igbo indigenes, are desperately seeking for redeployments amidst fear of the incessant attacks by “unknown gunmen.”
SaharaReporters had on April 19 reported that most policemen in Abia wear mufti, after heavily armed men attacked Uzuakoli Police Station in the Bende Local Government Area in a string of attacks on other stations.