As the military intensify efforts to end terrorism in the country, the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, has said a combination of physical and spiritual battle had become necessary to end the menace.
Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai is still the Chief of Army Staff
Noting that ideology was the main driver of terrorists’ activities, Buratai insisted that spiritual warfare must be deployed immediately against the enemy forces
The Army chief spoke yesterday, at a seminar organised by the Nigerian Army to fashion out ways of unleashing spiritual battle against the terrorists, whose activities, he regretted, had caused Nigeria so much damage.
According to him, besides the ongoing counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations, “spiritual” interventions were urgently needed, to defeat Boko Haram and other extremist groups threatening the peace and security of the nation.
To this end, he Buratai appealed to religious organisations as well as other relevant groups with grassroots connection, to be at the “forefront of this spiritual battle”, with a view to stopping the growth of the ideology, while ushering in new thinking.
Represented by the Chief of Administration, Major General Sani Yusuf, Buratai particularly tasked clerics with the Nigerian Army to lead in the spiritual battle against the enemy forces.
“Religious bodies and organisations in particular who interface regularly with the grassroots should be at the forefront of this spiritual battle and fashion out ways of stepping up their roles.
“It is easier to defeat Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists than their ideology because, while we degrade the terrorists and their havens, the narrative of the ideology grows the group.
“Therefore, communities, families, and groups should join in the fight and narratives to reject and prevent the ideologies of the terrorists and extremist groups,” he said.
While assuring that troops will sustain ongoing counterterrorism operations, Buratai said the fight should not be left to the military alone.
According to him; “The fight against terrorism, Boko Haram and ISWAP, as well as other security threats, cannot be left to the troops in the battlefield alone.
“Yes, we will do our duties, but there is a need to tackle groups through spiritual warfare and re-orientating the followers against the ideology is also a necessity.
“It is a well-known fact that terrorism and terrorist groups cannot be totally eliminated by mainly military actions.
“This means focusing our efforts on the underlying narratives through ideologies that are employed by these terrorists to lure innocent citizens to their fold”.
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He added: “The need to defeat the ideologies of Boko Haram and ISWAP is based on the awareness that it is the ideologies that enhance their resources and help to recruit new fighters to their fold and as such; kill their ideology and the terrorist movement withers and dies.”
The Nigerian Army Spiritual Warfare Seminar was tagged: “Countering Insurgency and Violent Extremism in Nigeria through Spiritual Warfare.”