In line with the directives of the Committee of Heads of States/Governments of Troops Contributing Countries (TCCs), the MNJTF continued with the conduct of Operation YANCIN TAFKI (OpYT) which commenced in January 2019. The operation, which involves all Sectors, has been aimed at conducting offensive operations with a view to defeating Violent Extremist Originations (VEOs) operating in the fringes of the Lake Chad Islands. At the start of the Year 2020, the FC MNJTF along with the Sector Commanders reviewed the operational concept of OpYT in line with the directives of the CDSs of MNJTF TCCs. The review included the restructuring of processes and procedures for enhanced air operations, employment of improved amphibious capabilities and adoption of tactics, techniques and procedures for optimal operational outcomes. OpYT has been successful in reclaiming key terrain previously held by terrorists and degrading enemy combat power by neutralizing/capturing personnel and materiel such as logistics, weapons and vehicles.
Tailored in the framework of OpYT were various combined/joint operations involving assets of 2 or more TCCs in addition to various operations within the Sectors. Also, the Force has been conducting several air/artillery interdiction operations against identified high value targets which were collected, analyzed and shared with the Force by the intelligence community including strategic partners of the MNJTF. These operations have contributed greatly to degrading the combat power of VEOs in the MNJF Area of Operations.
Besides the kinetic operations, the MNJTF has enhanced its non-kinetic activities through information operations and community outreach programmes. The non-kinetic aspects of the operation primarily aim at stifling the recruitment and retention drive of VEOs by dissuading would be terrorist combatants from joining VEOs and encouraging the surrender of members of the violent groups.
COMBINED OPERATIONS INVOLVING 2 OR MORE SECTORS
HQ MNJTF coordinated numerous combined operations employing the assets of various Sectors. The considerable level of synergy involved in the command and control of these operations have been applauded as one of the major success of the MNJTF since its establishment. To achieve this, the FC and staff of HQ MNJTF paid various operational visits coordination, harmonization of assets and joint training sessions geared towards understanding the TTPs of one another. Some of the notable operations conducted recently are discussed below.
Combined Operations by Sector 3 (Nigeria) and Sector 4 (Niger). In the month of May 2020, troops of Sectors 3 and 4 commenced fighting patrols towards theTumbuns on the DOUMA – ASSAGA – GASHGAR – DUMBA – DAJIWA – DALGAA axis. In the said operation, troops of Sector 4 made contact with terrorist fighters at LIWUR, South of DAYA and cleared the area. Similarly, in the latter period of the same month, Sector 4 QRF in coordination with troops of Sector 3 conducted a fighting patrol to clear terrorists in the general area of GASHIGAR. This led to the identification and destruction of a BHT logistic base while some items were recovered.
Combined Offensive Operations by Sector 1 (Cameroon) and Sector 3 (Nigeria) North of Wulgo. In June 2020, MNJTF Sector 1 in conjunction with 3 Bn (Nigerian Army) cleared GARAL and BULAKESA axis. Later on, the troops conducted offensive operations along the CHOUKOUNGUDU – BUKAR MARYAM – ZANARI axis during which terrorists attempted to disrupt the operations with several Gun Technicals (GTs) and Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices. The attack was successfully repelled while several of the terrorist fighters were killed and some materials recovered.
Combined ISR and Air/Artillery Interdiction Operations. At various periods throughout the Year 2020, HQ MNJTF coordinated several ISR and air/artillery interdictions involving the assets of various TCCs. These operations were based on credible intelligence provided by the intelligence community and MNJTF strategic partners. The interdictions were effective in the destruction of several terrorist personnel, vehicles, equipment and logistics bases.
OPERATIONS CONDUCTED BY MNJTF SECTORS
As mentioned in the overview, the Sectors conducted various sub-operations tailored in the framework of OpYT. Some of the notable operations are highlighted as follows:
Operation RUFE KOFA. This operation was conducted from December 2019 to January 2020. It was a joint offensive operation between MNJTF Sector 1 and 7 Div NA. The aim of the operation was to track down Boko Haram Terrorists in their sanctuaries around the Mandara Mountains and outskirts of the Sambisa Forest. The operation cleared FIRGI, YALE, NGUWUGHU, ASSA and the MAIDUGURI – BAMA corridor. The localities of DALU, KWATARA, CHINENE, CHIKIRE and BALLAIBRIHIM were also cleared.
Operation COLERE BOHOMA. Op COLERE BOHOMA was triggered by the
attack on Chadian troops at BOHOMA on 23 March 20 which required appropriate response by the Chadian authorities. The operation which lasted from the end of March to Mid April 2020 was conducted by Chadian national Forces as well as MNJTF Sector 2 troops. It led to the capture of a major terrorist stronghold in TUMBUN MADAYI while scores of terrorists were killed and their equipment either captured or destroyed. This was adjudged a huge success and resulted in the promotion of all officers and men in MNJTF Sector 2 to their respective next higher ranks.
Operation LONG TIGER. Op LONG TIGER was conducted in January 2020. It was a joint operation between MNJTF Sector 3 and troops of Op LAFIYA DOLE. The operation was intended to cut off BHT supply routes in the areas of JAKANA – MAINOK-KAWTYA, PUTCHIMIRAM-KARETO – DAMASAK – JAKANA – MAIMALARIA – JAKANA – GUBIO – DUGUSHEWA and BORNOYESU. All operational objectives were achieved.
Link-up Operation to GUDUMBALI. Sector 3 MNJTF supported by a Nigerian Special Forces Bde conducted a link-up operation from January 2020. The operation was conducted from CROSS KAUWA to GUDUMBALI to link up with the Mobile Intervention Group (MIG) of 5 Bde Nigerian Army. The operation was to ensure the domination of the locality of GUDUMBALI and its environs.
Operation ARU-KABI. The attack on Sector 4 location at CHETIMA WANGO FOB on 7 March 2020 triggered Operation ARU–KABI. The operation was conducted within BULABRIM and its surrounding areas in mid-March 20 with the aim of tracking and neutralizing BHT.
Operation BARRAH. Following the success recorded during Op COLERE DE BOHOMA, on 17 Apr 20, Sector 4 in coordination with Sectors 2 and 3 conducted Op BARRAH. The troops conducted offensive operations along the DIFFA – ISARI – BOUDOUM – BOLORI axis in Niger, after which they crossed to MATARI – GISUM axis and moved towards DAMASAK in Nigeria. From DAMASAK, the troops cleared the axis towards GASHIGAR. The operation was a success as several BHT logistics were discovered and destroyed
The FC along the Military Staff Officers of HQ MNJTF conducted several operational visit to the Sectors. During the visits, the FC emphasized the need for good coordination and synergy in the conduct joint operations. The Team also inspected troops equipment state and general readiness for operations. Furthermore, HQ MNJTF Staff Officers were availed the opportunity of direction interaction with their counterparts in the Sectors.
Bassed on the convinction that only military approach can not solve the insurgency problem which requires global approach, the MNJTF has enhanced its Non-Kinetic aspect through Information Operation, Psychological Operations and Civil Military activities. In this context, several programmes were carried out while others are in progress.
The MNJTF has enhanced its non-kinetic activities through information operations and community outreach programmes. The non-kinetic aspects of the operation primarily aim at stifling the recruitment and retention drive of VEOs by dissuading would be terrorist combatants from joining VEOs and encouraging the surrender of members of the violent groups. In so doing, the MNJTF ensures the adoption of international best practices in disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration of surrendered terrorists taking into cognizance the International Humanitarian and International Humanitarian Rights Laws. To this end, the Force formulated a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)for the Handling of Persons Affected by Boko Haram and other VEOs. Additionally, the Force conducts various CIMIC activities geared towards winning the hearts and minds of the populace. The Year 2020 witnessed the highest rate of surrender of terrorists, with hundreds of fighters and civilians who escaped terrorist captivity submitting themselves to the Force. In line with its SOP, HQ MNJTF facilitated the handover of affected persons to their respective national authorities.
In the communication aspect, the purpose is not only to promotr and enhance the image of the Force within the public but also and above all to reach the targetpopulation. In this regard, a Civil/Military workshop was organized by MNJTF at Ndjamena in November 2020 to develop a communication strategy for the eradication of violent extremism in the Lake Chad Basin with the support of UNDP and CBLC. The participants to the workshop were selected from all the affected areas of the AOR.