Boko Haram Attacks: Control Of Territory Different From Presence In Asymmetric Warfare – Expert Warns

*Says Governor Zulum confusing the two

A counter terrorism expert, Mr. David Otto, has waded into the state of confusion and miscommunication between the Nigerian military commanders in Borno State and Governor Babagana Zulum, whose convoy was recently attacked by Boko Haram terrorists splinter group-the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) while on his way to Baga.

There was heated exchange between the Governor Zulum and the military Commander in Baga for allegedly misleading him into thinking that the whole of Borno State was safe from Boko Haram terrorists including Baga.

But Otto in a chat with Global Sentinel on Thursday, said the governor is confusing what is obtainable in a conventional warfare to the fluid nature of asymmetric conflict.

According to him, the governor must understand the nature of asymmetric warfare – there is a clear difference between Boko Haram and ISWAP controlling a town like Baga and launching spontaneous attacks.

The expert said that pockets of terrorists will continue to launch spontaneous attacks on hard and soft targets but this does not constitute control of the territory – Baga.

He said: “Boko Haram- ISWAP has the capacity to launch guérilla style attacks but it does not have the capacity to control Baga – these are two different scenarios in asymmetric warfare.

” However, relocation of IDPs into Baga is not yet a safe option if civil authority cannot be restored. Spontaneous attacks are not entirely within the remit of the army – this is a multi-agency endeavour including the responsibility of the Borno state authorities and a robust intelligence led law enforcement.”

Otto also stressed the fact that Baga is not ready for relocation – even if the territory is cleared of Boko Haram terrorist,adding that there are too many mines that needs to be déminîng.

” Else it’s a dead trap for any returning community. A good endeavour can be disastrous if rushed,” he warned.


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