The founder of Specialized Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection,(STTEP), Eeben Barlow, has revealed how President Muhammadu Buhari stopped them from carrying on fighting Boko-Haram terrorists in Nigeria in 2015.
In a Facebook post, Barlow said their proposal was antagonised and politicised by Buhari and his team “even before they assumed office.”
“The initial 3-phase campaign strategy (known as ‘Operational Anvil’) to degrade and destroy BH in Borno State, was rejected by his advisors,” Barlow added.
Barlow, further, stated that the company was willing to stay back in the north east but the President “made it known that the company’s presence would not be tolerated under his office.”
In 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan, in his bid to put an end to the insurgency turned to STTEP, a South African private military contractor, to provide training in new weapons and tactics to the Nigerian Army.
But the organization withdrew from the battle in March 2015 following the emergence of Buhari in February of the same year.
“These warnings covered the implications of not allowing the 72 MSF to annihilate BH in Borno province; the plans by Boko Haram to re-arm and escalate their activities; the implications of regional spill-over, the impact on the armed forces; and so forth,” Barlow said.
Barlow also opined that the recent attack by the Boko haram sect ‘negates’ Buhari’s promise of defeating the Islamist insurgents, a key promise of Buhari’s 2015 election campaign. The government continues to insist the deadly jihadists have been “technically defeated”.
“His narrative that Boko Haram was ‘technically defeated’ was false as soon as he uttered those word,” Barlow affirmed in the post.
Barlow’s lashing of the anti-terror war is coming days after reports in the country revealed that the sect on Sunday, November 18 overran a Nigerian Army, 157 Task Force Battalion, in Metele, Borno state. The deadly attack left at least 44 soldiers.
However, an officer who was caught in the attack on the troops at Metele told a foreign News platform, Reuters, that “the insurgents took us unawares. We lost about 100 soldiers. It is a huge loss.”
The attack is one the most brazen since Buhari came to power in 2015 and it has increased the pressure on him to act fast to nip the crisis in the bud ahead of the election in February 2019, not least because he has claimed victory over the nine-year insurgency.