by barrister bulama bukarti
Ansaru claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack that reportedly killed at least 30 people in the convoy of the Emir of Potiskum along Kaduna-Zaira road. The claim which came through al-Qaida’s Thabat News Agency is Ansaru’s first since 2013.
If this ambush turns out to be a herald of the AQ affiliate’s comeback, it will make an already bad situation worst. Nigerian troops have for years been battling criminal gangs, mostly Fulanis, in northwestern Nigeria. Adding another actor will further complicate things.
It also means the Nigerian Army, which is already stretched too thin, will now be fighting from at least 4 different fronts: JAS & ISWAP in the northeast and Ansaru & bandits in the northwest. ISWAP’s recent claim of an attack in Sokoto adds another layer to this challenge.
Last Ramadhan, Ansaru released its 1st tafsir in Fulfude, an indication that it’s trying to recruit and radicalise Fulani bandits with excellent knowledge of the terrain and years of experience. Has Ansaru succeeded? If so, it will be like adding salt to a fresh, open wound.
Zaria-Kaduna is a major highway that sees thousands of cars & trucks per day. If Ansaru’s attacks along this road becomes frequent, it will affect social and economic activities, education and civil service. It will impact the whole country in a way never seen before.
The Buhari administration shouldn’t, as usual, drag their feet on this. They must quickly rise to the occasion and stop Ansuru from staging a comeback. If there’s one lesson we should learn from the previous decade, it’s that underestimating these groups is a fatal mistake.
This means deploying more troops, paying them on time and providing them with enough ammo, kits & equipment. Some of those fighting BH in the NE recently threatened to withdraw due to exhaustion and neglect. We can’t keep neglecting our soldiers if we truly want them to win.