👤 By Ahmad Salkida
This is going to be a very long thread on #ISWAP, recent negotiations that went wrong and the controversial #BokoHaram ‘technical defeat’ bubble that was created to achieve political value rather than address the conflict indicators in the #LakeChad.
Apparently, Shekau has not recovered from the fallout of his extreme and tight-fisted rule, which led to a split in 2016. Many may argue that the splinter group (ISWAP), is now as extreme as Shekau, but insiders disagree, that there is freedom of expression in ISWAP.
To many insiders, the execution of an overrated Mamman Nur and two aid workers would have been carried out by Shekau if he was faced with similar situations. It is also on record that Shekau has executed dozens of his associates and has been the largest beneficiary of ransom…
While #ISWAP is now bearing the brunt of recent, unequivocal detestation for ransom payments within and outside Nigeria, the govt could not find the much-needed expertise with access to the insurgents that can explore alternatives to ransom payments.
On the aid workers, the thinking within #ISWAP is, the aid workers were abducted inside a military facility during a raid, not in an IDP Camp, where they may have no problems overrunning? In the case of Leah, she is not merely seen as Christian, but daughter to a police officer.
But what really went wrong that led to the public execution of two aid workers and another recent killing of local aid workers that was under reported? Are these executions limited to failure of negotiations or is it something much deeper? These are questions begging for answers.
The failure of negotiations that led to the barbaric killings and the slavery status of Leah and Alice is confined to the contention that government no longer wants to pay ransom. But there is evidence that the dead lock was mainly a credibility gap.
There is a bubble that has been created that precludes the powers that be to understand that the strategy that worked yesterday, may not necessarily work today. It is much easier to succeed in a ransom deal, than when given the task of a robust process, limited to prisoner swap.
In the past BH goT deals that was more favourable to them, which clearly undermined military targets and objectives. They expected no less this time, but the state was adamant, but because of the limited options available to govt, the executions could not be deferred or averted.
There have been ‘accomplishments’ that was akin to a Trojan horse, which also has created a false hope, that was far from reality. That may as well explain why many did not understand the gravity of the last paragraph in my report here
As appalling as this may sound, ones a slave girl missed her menstrual circle, there may not be any negotiations for her release, and when the slave gives birth, she cannot be separated with her under 7 year-old child, the alternatives are narrowed to only a military rescue operation.
The fate of Leah and Alice is similar to those of the few surviving #Chibokgirls in captivity today. Though, the Chibok girls are not considered as slaves, but wives, however, BH ability to keep their most priced captives out of the radar confirms they have territorial control.
Territorial holds do not mean BH lives in all the communities and rule over them, some of these territories are left with no semblance of governance, only occasional visits by the insurgents and when the military appears in these areas, the villagers are ‘rescued.’
There is also an obvious knowledge gap about the conflict dynamics in the #LakeChad and the govt and experts heavily rely on confessions of detainees instead of interactions with assets on the ground, this is how timely information is garnered and channelled into saving lives.
As Shekau is believed to be boxed to the fringes of #Gwoza, the military has halted its final push and inadvertently created a buffer between ISWAP & BH for them to eliminate one another. Will Shekau workout a rebound or will the military make the final push that may see his end?
#ISWAP on the other hand, is buoyant, have dozens of local & Intl entry and exit routes in the region and have used this raining season to build up an armoury never seen before, yet they are struggling very hard to contain internal dissents from growing into major schisms.
The growing voices of dissent within #ISWAP is more about a new generation of young jihadis trying to “take over from less adventurous old guards,” rather than a war between moderates and hardliners, as we are made to believe. The younger ones are eager to be on the global map.
Also, the noticeable resurgence of the #LakeChadBasin lately as a result of a reduction in human population and human activity in the shoreline communities have aided #ISWAP’s divine message of prosperity, which is winning over new recruits and strengthening weary fighters.
Yes, there is poverty in the region, but the root cause of this conflict is ideological in nature. The doctrines the leaders of BH founded their sect, exploits the widespread suffering, resentment, and anger in the region and #ISWAP is doing ‘a good job’ creating opportunities.
The unhealthy rivalry & lack of proper coordination amongst security agencies in Nigeria & between Nigeria & its neighbours is also feeding the doctrine that angels are fighting their battles against powerful adversaries & the climax is to kill or be killed as a path to paradise.
There is also corruption within the rank and file, it is dangerous to hold a person with a gun to account. How some of us have survived remain a mystery? Contractor businesses have been created under the #BokoHaram subhead, security leaders r now among big buyers of real estate.
Surprisingly, many internationals that were critical during the GEJ regime have been Nigerianized into accepting the status quo. This is evident in meetings where they grumbled in private and sing praises in the open. “It is called diplomacy,” I call it, lack of character.
I’ve been a victim of orchestrated blamestorming for refusing buttering some people up with narratives that support donor and political agendas, this also explains my absence in local and Intl conferences on a subject that I have proven to have deep understanding.
The scholarly community is also not without its own politics, you have to belong to a coterie before you are taken seriously, rather than the quality of your research. This trend has created a flood of disinformation that have deferred solutions to a war protracted crisis.
If heads of security agencies in Nigeria don’t see eyeball to eyeball, it’s a load of cobblers to expect a poor, nonconformist reporter to be smiled at. Sadly, even acclaimed journalists/researchers that know the bare faced lies are misled into believing one ruse after another.
The breakdown of law and order in #Nigeria will not go away if we do not eliminate bad governance, at all levels. Redefine the functions of institutions and never knock over the rules for any person or interest, insist on ACCOUNTABILITY and this crisis will be contained.