Changing face of terror

By Editorial Board   |   08 December 2015   |   3:52 am  

BOKO-HARAM-CopyAGAINST recent activities of the Boko Haram and ISIS terrorists, the government in particular, and the interventional coalition in the war against terror must now come to terms with the changing face of terror. If anything, this points to a long war, the end of which is not clearly in sight. It will take concerted cooperation at a global level, as well as a methodical and relentless approach by individual countries to achieve the desired peace.

On-going pre-emptive raids by French and Belgian security operatives on suspected hideouts and bases of terrorists provide perhaps the latest lesson. The fatal hits of soft targets in France is an indication of the changing strategies of inflicting maximum damage to targets of Islamic State militants and other terror groups. The African state of Mali too was not spared either, as daring gunmen attacked a hotel and for a while took hostages. And in Nigeria, the police keep counting the loss. According to the Inspector General of Police, the country needs N12.7 billion to checkmate Boko Haram insurgency and rebuild 56 police stations, formations and facilities destroyed in the crisis.

From Syria to Afghanistan, from Belgium to Pakistan, America and Britain, more theatres of terror, the vicious cycle continues. The escalating attacks and threats of terror by ISIS to also “strike America at its centre” coupled with Boko Haram’s continued insurgency in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroun, have no doubt, left the world nervously pondering the future of global peace. Nigeria must learn to be proactive rather than reactionary in matters of territorial protection, and in the reality of contemporary world politics. There is no running away from the fact that the country is among others that found themselves deep in the hit of terror.

To get on top of the situation, there is need to seek the active assistance of the international community. It is instructive that leaders of developed countries are also calling for global cooperation to combat terrorism. The Federal Government must provide necessary support for the military to develop capacity to contain the terrorists, and nurture a system for intelligence gathering backed by top-class training for officers. The national security apparatus or the defence mechanism must be strengthened to withstand current and future challenges.

The global terror map is a problem without borders and of the world’s growing susceptibility to terrorism. Exportation mechanism (of terror) is constantly being upped by the promoters whose territorial expansionist tendency is not hidden, propelled in their ambition by slush funds from conquered territories’ resources and money laundering.

Europe, indeed the world, is currently battling with the heat of the Syrian conundrum and other hot spots. These days, terror is so easily exported, before a recipient country has time to decipher such missions. For instance, the France bloodletting was reportedly planned in Syria and organised in Belgium and executed in France. The coordinated orgy, perfected in a matter of hours, claimed 129 lives with as many as 352 injured – 90 critically. This is in spite of the ‘high’ threat level (highest in a four-tier rating) raised in France long before the strike. Belgium has also remained on high alert for a while after the French fatalities.

Mali in its own case recorded 21 deaths in a siege laid to a luxury hotel before the rampaging gunmen could be overpowered by the country’s security forces. Mercifully, the world is drawing lessons from reactions of leaders.

Much earlier in the year, Kenya’s huge loss involved at least 147 people in an attack on Garussa University College in east Kenya. Gruesome killings are not limited to these unfortunate incidents. Cumulatively, Nigeria’s share of Boko Haram’s terror in the past six years is still counting. Last year September, Australia carried out the biggest counter-terrorism raid in the nation’s history, involving 800 heavily armed officers targeting households.

Recent developments in Paris have necessitated discussions in Europe and the U.S. about how and whether EU countries should be beefing up their border security. In Europe, talks have reportedly centred on “reintroducing border controls in Europe’s 26-nation, open-borders Schengen zone – an initiative that could completely change how travellers move through the continent”. Several countries in Europe have implemented temporary border controls post-Paris strike, in order to strike a balance on the maintenance of appropriate security.

However, life and business must go on in spite of unrelenting attackers.  The war against terror cannot be conceded, but as experts observed, it would be at a cost in upgraded intelligence systems, policy rationalisation, and integrated surveillance system, both domesticated and through improved international collaboration.

Nigeria’s interest may dictate change in policing of the wider community, complemented by the military when necessary; promoting state police to boost policing local intelligence. The state cannot overact on security issues to protect its prized assets in people and infrastructure. The possibility that in the process, a safer world is promoted serves to keep hope alive for the world



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