By Chinenye Festus:-
There have been accusations and counter-accusations since the deadly assault that got at least 43 farmers killed in the Zabarmari area of Borno State on Saturday by suspected Boko Haram Terrorists.
The military through its spokesman Major General John Eneche who appeared on Channels Television sunrise daily on Monday said the military is worried that some locals in the northeast community decline to provide useful information to security agencies and thus reduce their effectiveness to combat the terrorists as relevant information is not provided.
“That has been our worry,” he said. “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.
“Those are the things that have been one of the banes of the final success in the whole of this operation.
“Our patrols will pass through a route, in a village. By the time you are going, some people are looking at you. When you are coming back, the next thing is that you meet an IED planted on the road. And people saw them, they won’t tell you. So that’s the area I think we are all working together as stakeholders.
“And it is not possible to force information out of people. It’s not possible, just like they say you force a horse to the river, but not to drink water. So all we are trying to do is to build up their confidence in the system and encourage them that look, this is not good for you. Now they do not expect that this will happen, even those ones that they deceived, that they are preaching to them.”
The attack on the farmers was one of the latest attacks amongst the series of violent crimes being perpetrated by bandits and members of Boko Haram in the Northeast and the United Nations has reported that the death toll in the recent attack is as high as 110.
Enenche while responding to the United Nation’s report on Sunday that 110 people had been killed in the Zabarmari attack, said the military’s casualty count still stood at 43.
“I have to respond, it is coming from the United Nation,” he said. “This is a source that identified itself that 110 persons specifically were killed.”
According to him, military officials accompanied Governor Zulum to count the site of the killings where the 43 bodies were counted.
But some persons had fled the scene, as they tried to escape the onslaught.
“Probably we may count up to the figure he gave in the future,” Enenche said. “But as it is, up till the time I came here, what we have counted with the locals is still 43. And we are hoping that we don’t get beyond that. So that’s the real situation.”
Enenche said the military is still searching for casualties. He also declined to make comments when asked his position on the Hashtag #Sacktheservicechief which has been ongoing for a while now, as he said, it is beyond him.
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