The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the army adopted spiritual warfare to counter Boko Haram propaganda, adding that the terrorists cannot be defeated by kinetic military warfare alone.
Buratai, represented by Brig.-Gen. Timothy Olowomeye, the Director Civil Military Affairs, stated this at the 2019 Chaplains annual Training Conference and Retreat on Tuesday in Sokoto.
Buratai described Spiritual Warfare as an effective tool against insurgency and other forms of restiveness.
” Boko Haram and the likes cannot be defeated by kinetic military warfare alone.Finding appropriate counter-narratives against these violent extremist sects will immensely be a big push towards eradicating their negative activities in Nigeria,” he said.
Buratai said Nigeria and the world at large were grappling with the harsh reality of restiveness mostly shrouded in religious, economic and political undertones.
” These tendencies have caused disorder and wanton destruction of lives and property of many innocent citizens who have continued to look unto the government for solace.
” President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to offer succour and renewing the hope of the country’s citizens through the relentless efforts of our Armed Forces and other security agencies.
” We, therefore, must call to mind always that the noble task of protecting the territorial integrity of the nation while also being proactively involved in aid of our civil authority is our prime responsibility,” Buratai said.
He said the Army had continued to engage with the religious directorate on possible proactive measures to help in winning this fight against the various forms of restiveness in the country.
The COAS described the theme, “The Non-Kinetic Strength in the face of Armed Banditry and other Security Challenges: The Role of the Military Chaplains”, as very relevant in this battle.
He further noted that the choice of the Northwest for the event meant they were in tandem with the efforts of the government in quelling the teeming security challenges of banditry in the region.
He called for more collaboration between the Directorates of Civil Military Affairs (DCMA) and the three Religious Directorates in the efforts to contain the security challenges.
According to him, the Armed Forces have attained great feats in the fight against insurgents, breaking their ranks and degrading their will to fight.
However, the insurgents’ belief in their ideologies remain the driving force thereby making ideological battle in some ways very necessary and timely.
He expressed optimism that the conference would develop appropriate narratives required to counter the ideologies of the religious terror groups.
Speaking also, the Coordinator, Brig.-Gen. Charles Chidebere, said the event was in furtherance of efforts to win the war not by blazing guns but through winning the hearts of all with profound messages of peace.
Chidebere appealed to religious leaders, tribes, communities and people at large to uphold the true message of religion which included peace, tolerance and unity in words and actions.
” We must refute in strongest terms possible all forms of extreme religious fanaticism and its attendant security threat to the nation,” he said.
The conference ends on Oct. 25.