The Director of Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, has blamed the attacks in Zamfara and Niger states on poor road networks, communication infrastructure and the vastness of the affected communities.
Akpor, however, said the military had taken this into perspective, adding that it had deployed troops to address the situation.
Fleeing terrorists have been launching ferocious attacks on communities, killing and abducting many residents, following the bombardment of their enclaves in the northern part of the country by the military.
Between January 1 and 20, no fewer than 500 persons have died from such attacks.
On January 7, fleeing terrorists in Zamfara killed 200, while many other residents were killed and some abducted 13 days later.
Last week, the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, said over 300 persons were killed and 200 kidnapped between January 1 and 17 in at least 50 attacks in the state.
According to residents in Zamfara and Niger, the terrorists invaded their communities on motorcycles in large numbers.
But Akpor said, “The military has appropriately deployed troops to deal with the situation on the ground but you must understand these areas are vast. If you put the whole of the South-East inside Niger State, it would swallow it. When they tell you they moved from a place and went to cause havoc at another, if you don’t know how large this expanse of land is you would think it is something you can easily block and neutralise them.
“Also, the roads in these areas are very poor, and the communication infrastructure is also poor. Before we get information on the havoc wreaked by these terrorists, it takes two to three days. The road infrastructure to respond is terrible. We have taken everything into perspective and we are working very hard to ensure that no Nigerian suffers undue threat to life and properties.”
“A lot is happening in these states. That is why the heat is on them and they are running from their comfort zone. It means they would not have food and resources wherever they are running to. Therefore, they would pounce on villages along the way. It is unfortunate; we are carrying out a pursuit on them. Very soon, even the forests would not be a safe haven for them. “
Meanwhile, security experts have lamented the situation and advised the Nigerian military to make the onslaught on the terrorists a continuous one.
A security expert, Timothy Avele, “They’re feeling the heat of the military onslaught and would not want to go down alone. My only fear is that, soon, the military and law enforcement agencies will relax while the terrorists regroup and start their deadly attacks again. To eliminate this threat, the military, law enforcement and Intelligence agencies must keep the onslaught on the terrorists from multiple locations and it must be a non-stop operation, day and night. “
A security risk management and intelligence executive, Kabiru Adamu, said measures should be put in place to curtail the relocation of the terrorists.
Adamu added, “The Zamfara attack was possible because of the absence of a strategy and framework at the national level to address this issue. Someone within the security architecture should have anticipated that bombardment of these terrorists would lead to relocation; that person should have put in place preventive measures to protect vulnerable communities. “(Punch)