- Nigeria's Defence Headquarters has issued an official response to the US' warning about terrorists planning to infiltrate West Africa
- The spokesman of the Defence Media Operations, John Enenche, said the Nigerian armed forces were on red alert to tackle the terrorist groups
- Enenche, however, added that the reported activities of the terrorist groups in West Africa are not new
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The Defence Headquarters has issued a response to the warning by the United States that the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups were exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to infiltrate West Africa after losing ground in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East.
The coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said the Nigerian armed forces and the security agencies were on red alert to tackle the terrorist groups, The Sun reports.
Enenche who made this known during a media briefing on Thursday, July August 6, said the military has increased the tempo on all its operations against the onslaught of terrorists, bandits and other criminals terrorizing the country with their activities.
He added that the US' warning was not new to the Nigerian armed forces as it is doing everything to protest the territorial integrity of the Nigerian nation.
The defence spokesman said there was no call for alarm and urged Nigerians to go about their legitimate businesses without fear of being harassed.
His words: “Our attention being drawn to the fact that terrorists from other zones are coming here, I think it would be good for us to be keeping records of events as they unfold.
“For me, this is not the first time they are raising such an alarm, the alarm is as old as maybe five or ten years ago and the armed forces and the country is conscious of it.
“When the conflict in Libya was declared officially that it ended, which did not end what happened? It was we, our NIA, state service and all that raised the information that these people are moving.
“Have we not captured foreigners among the people that have been terrorizing us in this country?
“So it is just like a call to keep doing what you are doing, so the general public should know that the security agencies are on top of that one.
“Recently we captured some in Niger state from our neighbouring country, where are they coming from? Why do we have ISWAP here now, was ISWAP indigenous to Nigeria, No!"
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Nigeria had been warned by the US over attempts by Al-Qaeda insurgent group to penetrate north-west of the country.
Dagvin Anderson, commander of the US special operations command, Africa, disclosed this.
According to him, Al-Qaeda is also expanding to other parts of West Africa. However, he said the US will continue to partner with Nigeria in sharing intelligence.
He said: “We have engaged with Nigeria and continue to engage with them in intel sharing and in understanding what these violent extremists are doing.
“And that has been absolutely critical to their engagements up in the Borno state and into an emerging area of northwest Nigeria that we’re seeing al-Qaida starting to make some inroads in.
“So, this intelligence sharing is absolutely vital and we stay fully engaged with the government of Nigeria to provide them an understanding of what these terrorists are doing, what Boko Haram is doing, what ISIS-West Africa is doing, and how ISIS and al-Qaida are looking to expand further south into the littoral areas.”
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