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Boko Haram 'How Nigeria can conquer terrorists,' US counter-terrorism expert speaks

The retired officer, who pleaded anonymity, advised the federal government against buying US Apache helicopters .

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Boko Haram play

Army discovers several bomb-making factories in Borno

(City Voice)

A former member of the US  Navy’s Sea, Air and Land Teams otherwise known as Navy SEALs has said one sure way to heavily crush Boko Haram is an air cavalry.

The US Navy SEALs are known for launching successful  counter-terrorism missions in extremely difficult terrains, one of which they are revered for being the 2011 Abbottabad operation that killed former Al Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden.

According to The Cable, the retired officer, who pleaded anonymity, advised the federal government against buying US Apache helicopters as being reported in the media.

The officer, who is said to be familiar with Nigeria's counter-terrorism operations, said the money the government plans to spend on these machines can be put to better and most effective use in the fight against terrorism in the country,

READ: ‘Borno is now free of Boko Haram,’ Shettima says

He said: “Recently I have seen articles suggesting the government will buy $500 million worth of US Apache helicopters — about eight of them.

“More recently it has been suggested that the military buy South African AH-2 type helicopters.  Both are two-seater aircraft designed for close air support of troops on the ground and to be tank and LAV killers.

“It would appear to me that money would be better spent on high-performance long range attack/transport helicopters, such as the US Black Hawk (pictured) or the Ukrainian Mi-8 MSB, which is one-third the cost of the Black Hawk, and on developing an air cavalry command capable of deploying troops rapidly on short notice to any hot spot.

“Such helicopters do the triple duty of troop lift, logistical supply/support and close-air support of troops in the fight. If the situation worsens to be more like Iraq and Afghanistan, where IEDs are a daily occurrence,  long range attack/transport helicopters will be in great demand for logistical support of remote bases.”

He recommends the air cavalry approach because of its ability to target the key areas as well as the key actors.

“It seems to me that Nigeria needs a nimble military capable of rapidly vertically enveloping insurgents, an air cavalry. It can destroy the Boko Haram by identifying the leaders, mapping out the leadership/command structure and targeting leaders for capture and interrogation,” he said.

Explaining further, he said: “Counter terrorist operations are more like spearfishing than regular army maneuver operations which could be likened to net fishing. ‘Net fishing’ in counter insurgencies runs the risk of alienating the population, thereby creating more terrorists.  Commando operations target the ‘big fish’ to extract information from them in surgical capture-or-kill operations.

“Sorties of helicopters can maneuver to vertically envelop insurgents.  An air cavalry battalion could target key leaders to capture or kill them.  Intelligence personnel could interrogate insurgents, conduct forensics on their cellphones and monitor all connections to construct a map of Boko Haram structure/leadership.”

The Boko Haram terrorists have killed over 20,000 people and displaced 2.3 million from their homes since they started operation in Nigeria's north east.


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