Lt. Gen. Yusuf Tukur Buratai, The Chief of Army Staff has revealed that a majority of Boko Haram terrorists are Nigerians, and it will only require the total co-operation of Nigerians to defeat the terrorists.
Buratai, speaking on Monday, July 20, to State House Correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhmmadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, said the insecurity in different parts of the country will end as soon as Nigerians want them to end, adding that various ongoing military operations in the north and other parts of the country were progressing successfully.
Buratai was responding to journalists after reports that 19 persons were shot dead in Kukum Daji Village, Kaduna State Sunday night, July 19 while suspected bandits ambushed and killed 16 soldiers in Katsina on Saturday, July 18.
Buratai said: “These terrorists, 99 percent of them are Nigerians. These kidnappers I will say 100 percent of them are Nigerians.
“As to whether banditry, terrorism, and so on will end, I think it all depends. If Nigerians want it to end today, I can assure you it will end today, if everybody joins hands because these bandits are not outside Nigeria, they are not from a foreign land.
“So it’s not just a military, security agency task to end the insecurity in this country. It’s only when it goes bad that we are called in, but everybody has the responsibility to handle that.
“Some of the insecurities are as old as history itself and it all depends on what you are doing to contain or defeat it at a particular time. It is the totality of your effort that will determine the escalation or containment of the insecurity in the country.
“There are setbacks that can occur in such military operations or any security operations but that not mean an inability to handle it, incompetence to handle it, as long as the efforts are there and are visible, the support of all and sundry will be required to address it squarely.
“Like I said, if we want it to end, the totality of the people’s effort must be put into it to see that insecurity in the country is reduced to the barest minimum.
“But if we don’t do anything and continue to complain, and continue to accuse the agencies involved in fighting it, then we are not helping matters. You are supposed to find solutions as something is being done on daily basis.
“I assure you that we will soon reach the end of the tunnel and we will see the light that will improve the security situation in all parts of the country”, he said.
“The security situation I assure you is under control and is not like what use to happen a month or two ago. We are working very hard and the troops are doing very well and I commend them for the efforts they have put in so far. These include the kinetic and the non-kinetic aspect of our exercise Sahel Sanity. We are there fully supporting Operation Hadarin Daji, which is a joint operation of the armed offices and the security agencies.
“So far, this collective effort is making tremendous progress in the area of bringing normalcy. Unlike the series of killings, kidnappings, cattle rustling and of course the threats to prevent the people from going to their farms and farm this season, this has been removed with the presence of the number of troops in the northwest and they are carrying out surveillance operations, patrol to ensure that no one is molested if you go outside the community to farm or harvest.
“We will ensure that this is sustained throughout this farming season and beyond. What we require is the full support of everyone in the area.
“It is also important for the press not to escalate the situation through reportage, giving prominence to the bandits, terrorist activities. This will go a long way in weakening them. You know for the criminals publicity is their oxygen, without that publicity they will be ineffective. Coupled with our efforts in the military and security agencies we will do everything possible to get rid of these criminals,” he said.