Nigeria is facing a “bigger security threat” than many think due to the depth of weapons at the disposal of bandits and other terrorists, a security source who was involved in initial efforts to rescue the abducted Greenfield University students has told FIJ.
According to the source, who cannot be named for security reasons, the abductors of the Greenfield students alone were more than 1,000 in the forest and they were in possession of enough weapons to last them a while.
The Rocket Launcher is a multipurpose weaponcapable of suppressing a whole range of targets both on the ground and in the air, and it is especially dangerous in the urban environment against tanks with any type of armour, including ERA.
This number perhaps explains why the Greenfield abduction was preceded by a series of others, including that of 27 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State, on March 11.
“The kind of ammunition those people have, they have more than 30 rocket launchers and more than 300 AK-47 rifles,” he said. “The bandits themselves are more than 1,000 inside the forest.”
The source also told FIJ that the bandits were tracked and there was the option to strike them, but the government opted against it.
“This is the kind of operation you embark on with helicopter, while armoured cars and Hilux vans block any potential escape by road,” he said.
“You move in there and you definitely succeed. Of course there will be firing but if you hit them unawares, you succeed. No matter how strong terrorists are, if the government is ready to work, they cannot overpower the government. There may be one or two casualties, but even the kidnappers themselves would be running for their own safety.”
He added that it is not impossible for the government to conquer kidnappers and other terrorists.
“We know what to do to these people,” he said, “but everything ‘bounces back’ to the politicians. Are they ready?”
Twenty-three captives were taken from the university, located along the Kaduna-Abuja Highway, on April 20.
Five of them were killed few days after the abduction, in protest of the failure of their families or government to meet the kidnappers’ demand of an N800 million ransom. One by the name Aaron Attahiru, however, was released after his parents negotiated and independently paid a ransom, leaving 15 females and two males in captivity.
The latest threat from the kidnappers is to kill the remaining 17 captives if the ransom, now reduced to N100 million and 10 brand new motorcycles, is not delivered to them.
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