Terrorists on the rampage across the country have attacked about 16 military bases in the last 18 months, fuelling concerns that the military was overstretched and needed to restrategise to deal with the criminals, protect its personnel and tackle the security challenges.
Findings by Sunday PUNCH revealed that while some of the attacks led to the killing of soldiers, some were repelled and insurgents killed. It was also gathered that within the last couple of months, about 800 soldiers have been killed in different parts of the country.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) on Friday, described as unacceptable the volume of attacks on Nigerians, blaming some foreign elements for fuelling the country’s security situation.
Speaking in Abuja at the graduation of Course 30 of the National Defence College, where he was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the President said, “Government is deeply concerned about the activities of bandits and criminals who have reared their ugly heads in some parts of the country. This is because the number of violent unprovoked attacks on citizens appears to be on the increase. This is unacceptable.
“Accordingly, we have given strong directive to the military and other security agencies to deal decisively with terrorists, bandits and other enemies of the country. We have also adopted bilateral and multilateral arrangements to tackle the trans-border and maritime crimes because we recognise that some of our security challenges are imported into Nigeria by foreign elements.
“I want to assure all Nigerians that the government is doing all it can to eliminate or apprehend the criminals or bandits, wherever they are.”
Meanwhile, the compilation done by Sunday PUNCH showed that the attacks on the military bases took place in the North. In 2022, there were six major attacks on military bases, witnessed in Borno, Katsina, Kaduna, Taraba and Niger states. These were independent of other attacks on the military, including ambushes, attacks on their convoys and the most recent attack on soldiers was at the Zuma Rock checkpoint on July 28. A soldier was killed in the attack.
On some of the attacks on military bases, terrorists attacked a military base in Sarkin Pawa Town in the Munya Local Government Area of Niger State on July 18, 2022. The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, said troops were able to repel the attack, noting that there were no casualties on the side of the soldiers.
On May 10, terrorists suspected to be members of the Islamic State West African Province launched an attack on the perimeter of the 6th Brigade military base in Jalingo, Taraba State. They were said to have thrown an explosive device into the base around 8:44pm. No casualty was recorded.
Also, on April 4, suspected Ansaru terrorists attacked a military base at Polewire on the Kaduna-Birnin Road in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, during which about 11 soldiers were feared killed, while 19 soldiers were reportedly injured by the terrorists. The terrorists, who used Rocket-Propelled Grenade, also killed three members of a vigilance group and injured two.
In a similar vein, it was reported that ISWAP fighters attacked the multinational military base in Doron Baga, Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State on March 19. They were however repelled by soldiers attached to the Operation Hadin Kai, killing some of the terrorists. Reports said the terrorists came with five gun trucks and grenades but were eventually decimated by the soldiers after about a two-hour gun battle.
Also, reports on January 21 noted that terrorists stormed the military base located within Government Day Secondary School, Shinfada, in the Jibia Local Government of Katsina State. A soldier and a member of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were reportedly killed. The Spokesperson for the NSCDC, Muhammed Abdara, confirmed the development to journalists.
In 2021, reports said there were attacks on at least 11 military bases in the North. Some of the attacks were foiled by soldiers.