From Okodili Ndidi, Abuja
11/08/2020 – The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said the recent warning by the United States of America (U.S.A) about bandits’ infiltration of the West African region was meant to sustain the onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
It recalled that such a call was not the first by the U.S.A as the country had raised similar alarm in the past.
The United States Africa Command (U.S AFRICOM) had, on Tuesday, warmed that ISWAP and Al-Qaida terrorist groups were exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic and gradually taking over West African after losing grounds in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East.
The Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, Maj.-Gen. Dagvin R. M. Anderson, warned that the extremists had begun discretely deploying strategies to silently re-establish themselves in the region and expand further into the continent.
The commander said the Al-Qaida sect had expanded in Mali and moved into northern Burkina Faso where they attacked infrastructure, took out local governance and security forces.
But the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, said the Nigerian Armed Forces were not oblivious of the potency of such infiltration.
He recalled that “it was the Nigerian military that raised the alarm about the movement of terrorists from the Middle East to West Africa and it is conscious of it”.
Enenche added: “Our attention being drawn to the fact that terrorists from other zones are coming here, I think it would be good for us to be keeping records of events as they unfold.
“For me, this is not the first time they are raising such alarm. The alarm is as old as, maybe, five or 10 years ago. The Armed Forces and the country are conscious of it.
“When the conflict in Libya was declared officially that it had ended, which did not end, what happened? It was our NIA, state service and all that raised the information that those people were moving. Have we not captured foreigners among the people that have been terrorising us in this country?
“So, it is just like a call to keep doing what you are doing. So, the general public should know that the security agencies are on top of that one.”