6th August, 2020
Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters has described the recent warning by the United States of America about Al Qaeda infiltration of the West African region as old news.
It, however, described the alarm as a clarion call for Nigerian military to sustain its onslaught against Boko Haram Terrorists and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
The United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) on Tuesday warned the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic and gradually taking over the West African Region after losing ground in Syria, Iraq and in the Middle East.
The Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, Major General Dagvin R.M. Anderson, warned the extremists have already begun deploying several strategies to silently re-establish themselves in the region and expand in the entire continent without drawing attention.
The Commander revealed that the Al-Qaeda sect has already expanded in Mali and have moved into northern Burkina Faso, where they attacked infrastructure, took out local governance and security Forces, and are controlling the local economy.
But Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said the Armed Forces are not oblivious of the potency of such infiltration.
On the contrary, he said “it was the Nigerian Military who raised alarm of movement of terrorists from the Middle East to West Africa and is conscious of it”.
“For me this is not the first time they are raising such an alarm. The alarm is as old as maybe five or ten years ago and the armed forces and the country is conscious of it.
“When the conflict in Libya was declared officially ended, which did not end what happened? It was we, our NIA, state service and all that raised the information that these people are moving.
“Have we not captured foreigners among the people that have been terrorising us in this country?
“So it is just like a call to keep doing what you are doing, so the general public should know that the security agencies are on top of that one,”
“Recently we captured some in Niger state from our neighbouring country, where are they coming from”?
“Why do we have ISAWP here now? Was ISWAP indigenous to Nigeria, No! So it’s just like telling you the obvious and I want to take like an advice to continue to ensure you have measures in place to continue checking them.”