By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The foremost Civil rights advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has commiserated with the President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), and the Army Chief, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai over the unfortunate killing of some very senior military officers amongst scores of other heroic combatants, but the rights group said the fact that senior officers have also made supreme sacrifices demonstrates the honesty, devotion, resilience and total commitments of the Nigerian military and the federal government to the war on terror.
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said contrary to what naysayers or conveyors of fake news want Nigerians to believe above the commitments of the military to wage an all out war against terrorists, the fact that Senior military officers whose professional trainings may have costs the tax payers millions of dollars for them to have reached such high career pedestals, shows that the military institutions and the Federal Government is waging total and committed war on terror and that no particular Ethnicity or Religious affiliations are sent to the battlefield to be sacrificed as punishments for the Ethno Religious platforms of the affected fallen heroes. These regrettable and very sad deaths of senior officers as well as ranks and file should send us all the signal that the men and women in military uniforms must be supported and appreciated and that under no circumstances should anybody or group play Ethnic or religious politics with the war on terror going by the abundance of evidence that the military truly wishes to liberate the territorial platform of Nigeria from external and internal sabotage and insurrection of the most disturbing dimensions happening in the North East of Nigeria which is bigger in size than FRANCE AND BELGIUM PUT TOGETHER.
Besides, the Rights group which commended the military over the the successes recorded in the counter terror warfare , particularly commended the hierarchy of the army and the Borno state Governor Professor Babagana Zulum for their total commitments and patriotism towards the provision of welfare and financial cushioning mechanisms for the brave fighters in the theatre of war.
Specifically, the Rights group has canvased the voluntary donation by corporate bodies as well as individuals to the Nigerian military to assist the government to actualize a quick end to the ongoing war on terror even as the Rights group said the Federal Ministry of Defence should open a dedicated account details so Nigerians can donate to buy basic necessities in aide of the so much that the hierarchy of the Nigerian military is doing with the limited funding components of the war on terror. “War on terror is everybody’s war, being fought on behalf of all of us by a few dedicated members of the Military who should be supported by all and sundry on voluntary basis so as to motivate them to keep making these monumental sacrifices for the Native land and for us all”.
In a statement by the National coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media affairs director Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Rights group also urged the military Authority and the ministry of Defence to publish a dedicated account details linked to the TREASURY SINGLE ACCOUNTS (TSA) so members of the public can voluntarily contribute towards providing provisions for the combatants to complement the phenomenal pro-welfare tendencies of the Army authority and other segments of the Armed forces of Nigeria just as HURIWA has pledged #50,000 ( fifty thousand naira) to be made available as soon as public notice by the ministry of Defence is made disclosing the account details for that purpose specified above. HURIWA is by this gesture, small as it is, urging non governmental bodies, market women, traders, boys and girls and multibilionaires to openly identify with the war on terror so ultimate success is achieved in a record time before this administration elapsed in 2023.
HURIWA applauded the military for the successes achieved in the war including the recent ones which included the one that military Aircraft Struck Boko Haram Hideouts in Borno In continuation of the sustained offensive against terrorist elements in the North East zone of the Country under subsidiary Operation HAIL STORM 2, the Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has eliminated several terrorists and destroyed their structures, including logistics facilities, at Arina Woje, Warshale and Valangide in Borno State. The air strikes were executed on 26 September 2020 following credible Human Intelligence reports as well as confirmatory Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions indicating a resurgence of terrorists’ activities at the 3 locations.
“HURIWA commends the military for these uncommon efforts. As we are told that at Arina Woje in Marte Local Government Area (LGA), where Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) elements were confirmed to be hibernating, the identified targets were attacked by Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets and helicopter gunships, resulting in the destruction of some structures and the neutralization of several terrorists. In the same vein, terrorist elements responsible for recent attacks in the Dikwa general area were tracked to Warshale and taken out as the NAF attack aircraft took turns in engaging the settlement. The air strike on Valangide in the Sambisa Forest area on the other hand was undertaken at night by helicopter gunships, which mopped-up the terrorists as they strafed the location. JOHN ENENCHE Major General Coordinator Defence Media Operations Defence Headquarters 28 September 2020”.
HURIWA which sympathised with the federal government and the families of the bereaved soldiers also commended the Defence headquarters for the prompt dissemination of professionally qualitative and verifiable information on the war on terror just as HURIWA said the fact that the Nigerian Army had confirmed the death of a colonel after an ambush by Boko Haram terrorists shows the high level of professionalism in the Nigerian military just as HURIWA agrees with the army for describing late Colonel D.C. Bako as “one of our gallant and finest war heroes.
HURIWA recalled that the media reported the ambush, near Damboa, which led to the death of Colonel Bako, who also commands an army brigade in Damboa.
Ado Isa, the spokesman of the Nigeria Army’s Operation Lafiya Dole, in a press statement, confirmed the death.
He said Colonel Bako was until his death the commander of 25 Task Force Brigade in Damboa. Isa said the colonel died in a military hospital where he was receiving treatment after the ambush.
HURIWA disclosed that the full statement of the military on the killing of senior officers are as follows: “Operation LAFIYA DOLE wishes to intimate the general public of the demise of one of our gallant and finest war heroes Col DC Bako. It could be recalled that the professional, gallant senior officer who always led from the front and a patriotic Nigerian, led a patrol to clear Boko Haram Terrorits from Sabon Gari-Wajiroko axis near Damboa when his patrol team entered an ambush at about 10 a.m Sunday 20 September 2020. Under his able leadership, the troops cleared the ambush resulting to the killing of scores of terrorists and recovery of weapons and equipment.“Sadly however, he was wounded in action and immediately evacuated by the Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE to the 7 Division Hospital at Maimalari Cantonment. The late senior officer was recuperating well after successful operation at the hospital, in good spirit and also said his prayers in the early hours of this morning before his sad passing at the hospital. May Almighty Allah grant his soul eternal rest. Ameen.
“The Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai on behalf of himself, gallant troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE and indeed well meaning Nigerians hereby express his heartfelt condolences to his esteemed family. We are most grateful for his contributions and sacrifices to the motherland. May God grant eternal rest to the gentle soul of Col DC Bako and the souls of all Nigerian Army officers and soldiers who paid the supreme prize in the defence of our father land.”
HURIWA further symparhised with the family of a senior army officer and two soldiers reportedly killed by bandits in Unguwar Doka Village under Faskari Local Government Area of Kastina State.
HURIWA quoted news reports from the area, as saying thar the soldiers, who were on routine patrol, ran into an ambush by the bandits, which led to their death.
HURIWA then quoted General Benard Onyeuko, Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, who confirmed the incident in a statement as stating thus: “They successfully cleared the village of the marauders to the admiration of the locals. During the encounter, troops successfully neutralized 21 bandits while others escaped with gunshot wounds into the forest as evident by the trails of blood along the criminals’ escape route.
The gallant troops successfully rescued three kidnapped victims including an eight months old baby who have been in the custody of the criminals for more than 23 days. During the exploitation phase of the operation, the gallant troops recovered one AK 47 rifle, one AK 47 magazine and three motorcycles from the fleeing bandits.
“Regrettably, resulting from the encounter with the bandits, one gallant officer and two soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice while two other soldiers were wounded in action and are currently receiving medical treatment in a military medical facility and responding positively.”