Sambisa Forest Have foreign nations been supporting Boko Haram?

The arrests of a large number of foreigners in a forest inhabited by Boko Haram, leaves us with a couple of questions

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Army presents captured Boko Haram flag to President Muhammadu Buhari play

Army presents captured Boko Haram flag to President Muhammadu Buhari

(Twitter)
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As Nigerian troops swooped on the Sambisa Forest stronghold of Boko Haram last month, footage from military fighter jets showed a large group of persons taking to their heels.

With the dust settling on a 'Camp Zero' laden with landmines and booby traps, the soldiers were able to arrest over 40 foreigners and a host of other Boko Haram captives.

Some fleeing insurgents were gunned down.

There were also reports that a Frenchman whose job description included helping the insurgents fix their trucks and tanks, was among those arrested.

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The Nation newspaper quotes one military source as saying: "In the last one week since we launched massive operations in Sambisa Forest, we have arrested over 40 foreigners.

“We will come up with the details later after the profiling of these suspects. They are all being debriefed. But we discovered that there were so many foreigners in the midst of Boko Haram. We have also rescued a lot of people who are being screened too".

  play Shekau led Boko Haram in forest (Huffington Post)

 

If confirmed as true, this development will lend credence to conspiracy theories in certain quarters that Boko Haram enjoyed some form of international support and that the insurgency was fuelled by certain Western superpowers to help destabilise and balkanise Nigeria.

Hold on a minute, nothing is cast in stone just yet.

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But we can draw all kinds of conclusions from why that number of foreigners were found in a terrorist camp at the same time.

Twice in the space of two years, the United States (U.S) refused to sell much needed weaponry to Nigeria, citing poor human rights record and endemic corruption; even though Nigeria explicitly stated that it badly needed the weapons to decimate the terrorists.

The Sambisa forest, covering an area of about 1,300 square kilometres (500 square miles), was a stronghold of the Boko Haram islamists play Sambisa Forest map (AFP/File)

 

If the U.S couldn't sell weapons to Goodluck Jonathan led Nigeria because of the famed corruption during that era, why did Uncle Sam refuse to sell weapons to Muhammadu Buhari led Nigeria which had been hailed in the West as accountable and transparent in its dealings?

At some point during the war, foreign allies who were supposed to help Nigeria locate and rescue the abducted schoolgirls from Chibok, pulled out of the arrangement and stopped training Nigerian troops on counterinsurgency operations.

In the next couple of days, we'll certainly find out more about the faceless powers who have been backing Boko Haram all these years.

One thing seems obvious, though--there's more to this whole Boko Haram insurgency than we already know.

Here's hoping the military authorities do not conceal the identities of these foreigners for the good of our country.

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