Gen. Babangida (retd) Identifies Terrorist Support Groups

At least three groups supporting terrorist organizations in Nigeria and the Sahel have been identified by the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.).

The Jama’at Nasr al-Islam Wal Muslimin, the Islamic and Muslim Support Group, and the Islamic State in Greater Sahara are the three organizations.

Monguno made the announcement at the 14th workshop of the Sahel League of Ulamas, Preachers, and Imams in Abuja on Tuesday.

The NSA further stated that relationships between clerics and security forces “should be the backbone of reconstructing our terrorism-infested neighborhoods,” urging Islamic preachers and Imams to use their high positions to gather support for ongoing counter-terrorism operations.

He said, “Terrorism and the rapid escalation of violent activities by militant Islamist groups in the Sahel since 2016 have been primarily driven by the Islamic State in Greater Sahara, which mainly operates in Mali and extends to Niger Republic and Burkina Faso.

“It is bolstered by activities of groups such as Jama’at Nasr al-Islam Wal Muslimin, the Islamic and Muslim Support Group and the ISGS, which have continued to pose an imminent threat to the stability of the region. In Nigeria, Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province dominate terrorist activities, especially in the north-eastern part of the country.

“The situation in the Sahel has never been grimmer, extremist violence continues to spread; the number of internally displaced persons is growing; and food insecurity is affecting more people than ever before. There are several not entirely congruent working hypotheses underpinning foreign and regional government strategies.”

The NSA went on to say that it was critical to rethink and reset the Sahel strategy, putting to rest any incorrect assumptions.

He suggested that the international community and Sahelian allies prioritize governance, lobby for or pursue an enlarged peace process cautiously through conversation, and press for the adoption of more non-kinetic measures through affected communities.

Monguno told attendees that the potential of the Islamic State in West Africa Province establishing a caliphate to rival the Lake Chad Basin Commission countries had been thwarted by a series of concerted and re-energized regional initiatives.

He stated, “The adoption of both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches by the LCBC countries to stem the conflict has yielded tremendous success.

“The adoption of propaganda videos by terrorist groups to project themselves as contending powers in the region is a mere attempt to garner support from sympathisers, as they struggle to maintain relevance. Thus, it is assessed that while the groups maintain the long-term strategic goal of creating a caliphate, the efforts of the LCBC countries will continue to frustrate that goal.”

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