Saturday, September 27, 2014

Terrorism: 1,200 Nigerian security personnel leave for Russia

About 1,200 Nigerian security personnel including members of the Armed
Forces, the police and members of the Department of State Services,
DSS, have so far left Abuja for anti-insurgent training in Russia.

Their departure for training as Special Forces, security sources said,
followed alleged snub or nonchalant attitude of both the United
Kingdom and United States towards Nigeria in her fight against Boko
Harm terrorists.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that 400 security personnel left the Nnamdi
Azikiwe Airport in a chattered aircraft at about 5pm weekend,
accompanied by top security officers as well as Russian instructors
who had been in the country to part of the initial selection process
for the officers and men that would take part in the training.

It was further revealed that two other batches of 400 troops each had
earlier departed for the training, bringing the total number of
officers so far to about 1,200.
Saturday Vanguard had exclusively reported that following the
dithering of the some western nations especially, notably Britain and
the United States of America over the training of Nigerian security
personnel to confront the Boko Haram insurgents, the Federal
Government had decided to turn to Russia to meet some of its immediate
security needs pending the resolution of the diplomatic difference
between Nigeria and the two Western countries.

According to sources the latest batch of Nigerian security personnel
are joining three batches of their colleagues who had left for
training in Russia earlier this year.
The last group would be in Russia for four months before returning to
the country early next year to form a nucleus of the Special Forces
Brigade to be set up by the country.

A similar scenerio played out when Nigeria faced sanctions following
the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections won by the
late Moshood Abiola by the then Military government led by late
General Sani Abacha as the Federal Government turned to China and
India for its miltary needs.
The emerging scenario in the fight against terror and the steps
Nigeria's government has taken would have resulted in global sensation
during the cold war as the West would have fought to keep her allies
to the then Soviet Union as now represented by Russia which has,
although, embraced free market economy.

Nigeria, for years, enjoyed close ties with the West and was seen as a
US ally. But the seeming nonchalant attitude towards it by its
traditional allies has reportedly compelled the country to turn to
Russia and China for the training of its military as well as
acquisition of military hardware to fight Boko Haram.
However, highly placed military and intelligence sources told Saturday
Vanguard in Abuja that the decision to turn to the other two world
military powers was an interim measure to roll back the advances made
by the Boko Haram insurgents who have gained some grounds in seizing
and controlling some towns and villages in the north eastern states of
Borno and Adamawa before the latest defeat suffered by the insurgents
in the last two weeks due to the increased performance of Nigerian
troops, leading to the killing of the insurgents leader, Abubakar

Following the increasing sophistication of the tactics employed by the
Boko Haram terrorists, the Nigerian government had reportedly
approached both the US and British governments to procure arms for its
armed forces in order to effectively counter the insurgents but the
two governments continued to dither, a situation that might have been
responsible for some of the gains recorded by terrorists in recent
A senior security official told Saturday Vanguard: "the United States
and Britain appear unwilling to provide arms to our armed forces. It
is surprising because these are two friendly countries to Nigeria
which is under threat from terrorists. We have no option but to look
somewhere else for our needs pending when the issues are resolved at
the diplomatic level by our government."
However, Russia which has always been willing to supply weapons and
some other logistics to Nigeria when other western countries are not
forthcoming readily accepted the Nigerian proposal as the Nigeria Air
Force, NAF, has several Russian fighter jets in its fleet.

Already, Nigeria has entered into contract with Russian arms
manufacturers for the supply of high calibre weapons to the Nigerian
Army to combat the insurgents in the North east and has also begun
discussion with the Israeli government on possible supply of military
"When the Chief of Army staff said recently that the Nigerian army
would soon take possession of weapons that would reverse the trend in
the North east, he was referring to the deal between Nigeria and some
Russian arms manufacturers. We are also in discussion with Israeli
companies. We don't want to be held ransom by our traditional allies.
That is why we are expanding our sources of supply," the source said.

By Ben Agande

Source: Vanguard

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