Is Boko Haram Gaining The Upperhand?
An unchallenged attack by Boko Haram on Friday in Damboa, which left over 100 people dead and sacked scores from their homes as the sect hoisted its black and white flag in the area, is a troubling indication that Boko Haram is having an upperhand in Borno State. This latest bloody assault on defenceless civilians comes barely a week after General T.Y. Danjuma, the Chairman of the Committee set up by the Federal Government to provide relief for victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, told President Goodluck Jonathan that it seems the insugents were having the upperhand.
The sect attacked the town of Damboa before dawn on Friday, firing rocket-propelled grenades, throwing homemade bombs into homes and gunning down over 100 people as they tried to escape the ensuing fires. The town was razed to the ground and the sect hoisted its flag in a show of force and domination. They have even mounted roadblocks in the area.
Vigilance groups in Damboa claimed that the town was left undefended by the Nigerian military, and the only defence came from vigilantes armed with clubs and homemade rifles. The town had been under siege for two weeks, since Boko Haram dislodged soldiers from a new tank battalion camp on its outskirts. On Saturday, reports said hundreds of people in another north-eastern area, Askira Uba, were fleeing after receiving letters from the Boko Haram threatening to attack and take over their villages.
Although the defence ministry claimed to have repelled the attack and killed at least 50 insurgents for the loss of six soldiers, including the commanding officer, residents said many soldiers had been killed and the military had been driven from the base. They said in the past week, the extremists have twice ambushed military convoys trying to reach the base. This is all too scary for our country and a grave threat to our territorial integrity.
With constant attacks by Boko Haram that leave scores dead and many homeless, Nigerians are beginning to wonder whether our security forces are up to task of fending off the insurgents and protecting the people in the volatile region from further deadly attacks..
Battling terrorists is never an easy task, but we believe that if the military, the State Security Service and other agencies join forces, they can give the terrorists a good fight and defeat them. But, there is a contradiction in the latest assertion that Boko Haram would soon be defeated when juxtaposed with the reality that they are having a field day wreaking havoc and killing innocent people almost on daily basis.