Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters on Monday accused Borno citizens of frustrating the war against terror by providing information on troops’ movements and activities to Boko Haram.
Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, while answering questions on the killing of the 43 farmers, during an appearance on a television programme, said information gathered from the attack showed that some of the insurgents were already cohabiting with the villagers before the attack.
Asked how the military had no prior intelligence on the attack, Enenche said the army needed information from locals to aid its operation.
“That has been our worry. It’s a concern for us. You need a guide, you need information. Will they tell us? That’s a question that we have to ask. Yes, sometimes. And most times, no. And that was one of the issues we have been ensuring to overcome, with civil-military cooperation activities, reaching out to them, even sending people by proxy to talk to them,” Enenche said.
According to him, since it is not possible to force information out of the people, the military has to be patient with them to gain their confidence.
Enenche debunked a UN report that 110 civilians died in the attack.
According to him, the field commandants “gave me a synopsis of what happened. When the governor was to go and after they had recovered the dead, the troops had to move in there and they counted 43.
“Probably we may count up to the figure he (Kallon) gave in the future but as it is now, what we have counted with the locals is still 43 and we are hoping that we don’t get beyond that.”
Enenche also lamented that Covid-19 was affecting the production and delivery of equipment, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that are vital for military surveillance operations in the North-east.
He said some equipment had not been delivered by Original Engine Manufacturers because of the pandemic, which disrupted activities globally.
Meanwhile the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said that the agreement between the United States and the federal government for the supply of 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is still intact.
It was reported that the agreement for the supply of the aircraft, which were already paid for, was under threat due to bad runway at the 407 Air Combat Training Group (407 ACTG), Kainji.
But Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF, Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement on Monday, dismissed the reports as incorrect, adding that the US Government has assured Nigeria of its commitment to deliver the aircraft.
The statement added that “for the avoidance of doubt, it is necessary to state that the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft project is on track to be delivered on schedule and in accordance with the terms of the contract.
“Currently, six of the expected 12 aircraft have been produced and are presently being employed for conversion training of six NAF pilots who are in the USA, along with 26 NAF engineers, technicians and logisticians, who are also undergoing various training on the aircraft as part of the provisions of the contract. Another set of 35 personnel are also scheduled to join them early next year. “In addition, a team from the USA is currently in Kainji overseeing the construction of critical infrastructure provided in the contract ahead of the delivery of the aircraft.”