Nigerian military ignored intelligence before deadly Boko Haram attack — SSS, Police

Boko Haram
Boko Haram

Security operatives have said Nigerian soldiers based in Magumeri village of Borno State received early warning about a deadly Boko Haram attack in the community last Wednesday.

A number of soldiers and police personnel died in the attack. The army initially said four soldiers were killed, but the Borno government said the figure was “far higher.”‎

At least two police personnel also died in the attack.

In separate testimonies, the State Security Service, SSS, the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the Nigeria Police, as well as the Civilian-JTF in the town, said the military did not do enough to avert the attack.

These revelations were made at a “stakeholders” meeting on Tuesday, convened by the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, to investigate the allegation by the Army, that residents of Magumeri connived with insurgents to attack troops.

Mr. Shettima said he was displeased by the comments credited to the spokesman of the army, Sani Usman, who said the military obtained credible intelligence suggesting that the attack was made possible because residents cooperated with Boko Haram.

The governor, who expressed anger with leaders of Magumeri, and accused them of hurting civilian-military relations with their actions, was shocked midway into the meeting, when agents of other security outfits gave testimonies that contradicted the claims made by the military.

The meeting took place at the council chambers of Government House, Maiduguri, with all security chiefs in the state, as well as leaders of the community and local government, in attendance.

Police CIB’s testimony

Leading in giving accounts of what happened in the town on Wednesday was the head of police Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) in Magumeri, Bello Haruna, who said the military authority in Magumeri was well informed about the impending attack before it eventually happened.

He said on the day of the attack, the Commander of the troops in Magumeri, identified as Captain Waza, invited him for an update on the rumoured assemblage of Boko Haram fighters around the town.

“The Commanding officer, a Captain, invited me to his office in the morning of Wednesday, hours before the attack, asking for the details of the location where Boko Haram fighters were said to be assembling, and I asked him to bring out the map from which I gave him all the necessary information about the terrorists’ locations. But I am not sure if anything was done in response to that before the attackers came,” he said.

SSS testimony

Similarly, the SSS representative in Magumeri, Tim Modalla, who was also at the meeting, said the security was aware of the impending attack four days before it finally happened.

He said the SSS was aware Boko Haram fighters were gathering at a location not far away from Maiduguri. He added that all necessary information was relayed to the military.

The SSS personnel said he received intelligence that Boko Haram members were gathering in some villages around Magumeri, and that they continued to shift their base closer by the day until they eventually stormed Magumeri with about 45 vehicles and a large number of motorcycles.

“On March 10, we received credible intelligence from our informants that Boko haram members were gathering in Bana village not far away; and after two days they shifted to Suleimanti village; then the following day which was 14th March, we gathered that their number swelled and they had about 45 vehicles,” Mr. Modalla said.

“We picked the report and transmitted same to the military telling them that it is possible that Boko Haram would bring attack to either Magumeri, Mobbar or Gubio towns.

“And as predicted on the 15th of March at about 5.30p.m., I was informed by a civilian-JTF that our town was about to be attacked. And I told him to quickly alert the Captain, and the Civilian-JTF Operative said he was at the military base four times to alert them of the attack.”

Community leader’s testimony

A well-known elder and community leader of Magumeri said the Nigerian military was unfair in accusing residents of connivance with the Boko Haram. He said the reason Magumeri was not attacked in recent times was because he led other residents in helping the security operatives with all information needed to help them fight back Boko Haram.

“On several occasion, despite my age, I would …..(this sentence has been edited because of the nature of information it conveyed) together with some of our youth (to) ensure that we keep track of any Boko haram movement,” he said.

“We sometimes sight Boko Haram members’ movement some 50 to 40km away from our village, and each time we sight them, we immediately inform the soldiers.

“On the day of the attack, some few hours before it happened I got a call in Maiduguri from Magumeri that we were about to be attacked; and I quickly called the military commanders that I have their numbers to adequately inform them. When I was receiving the call from Magumeri, the attackers were about 17km to our village, and I made this known to the military authorities. But nothing was done. So how could they have accused us of helping the Boko Haram. That is not fair”.

Civilian-JTF testimony

A leader of the Civilian-JTF in Magumeri also said he got hint in the morning of the day of the attack that a large number of Boko Haram fighters were advancing towards their village.

“Initially the informant asked if we were out on patrol with soldiers, I said no. He said he saw a large number of trucks that looked exactly like that of soldiers but what made him suspicious of their identity was the presence of large number of motorcycles trailing their convoy. So he said we had to be careful because they were advancing towards Magumeri town,” the Civilian-JTF operative said.

“When I received the information the Boko Haram fighters were about 30km away from Magumeri. So I had to run to the soldiers’ camp to inform the Captain who is the commander that this is what was about to take place. Some few minutes later, I ran back to the captain upon receiving the information that the attackers were about 20km away. When they were less than 10km I still went back to the Captain to alert him. On my fourth trip back from the camp, when I was about to mobilize my boys to move into the soldiers’ camp, the Boko Haram fighters invaded the town, and began to attack and shoot at the military base. We managed to run into the base thinking that it would be safe, but the Boko Haram fighters continued to shoot into the base. That was how all of us, including the soldiers took to our heels because of their large number. So I still don’t know why we are being accused of helping the Boko Haram after all this information we have provided to them.”

The state director of the SSS, had in responding to a question from the governor on what they usually do with intelligence gathered about the Boko Haram movements and locations, said, “We do not sit on the information we get. Just as it was said earlier, we normally transmit same to the relevant executive security agency for action. We have copious and documented evidence to prove that to whoever is in doubt”.

The garrison commander, Jubril Muhammed, a brigadier general, who represented the G.O.C at the meeting, described the development as “unfortunate” even as he said he would not speak on why the Army spokesman issued the statement suggesting residents connived with Boko Haram.

But he confirmed receiving early intelligence from some community leaders informing him about the impending attacks, hours before it happened.

Governor Shettima expressed sadness over the development, especially on how the military was quick in accusing the locals of colluding with terrorists.

He pleaded with residents and community leaders to continue to support the military even as he appealed that the well-nurtured civil-military relation that helped decimate Boko Haram should not be destroyed at a time the state was trying to consolidate on the gains made over the terrorist group.

Contacted for comments on the development, the spokesman for the Nigeria Army, Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, said the army had its facts and stood by them, but said the “indictment” was not on general terms.

“Our position on Magumeri is not an indictment on the whole society but those who have been conniving with terrorists know themselves,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

“We have our own facts and we are investigating the issue.

“We implore the people to understand that they need to support the military and other security forces especially at this critical stage of the fight against insurgency and terrorism.”


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  • thusspokez

    Similarly, the SSS representative in Magumeri, Tim Modalla, who was also at the meeting, said the security was aware of the impending attack four days before it finally happened.

    He said the SSS was aware of Boko Haram fighters gathering at a location not quite far away from Maiduguri. He added that all necessary information was relayed to the military.

    I don’t fault the army for not using intelligence report provided by brawns in the SSS. The SSS, as we saw with regard to Mr. Magu’s nomination, is not fit to provide correct and reliable intelligence report.

    • revelation

      You say the SSS ‘is not fit to provide correct and reliable intelligence report’?

      YOU MEAN FROM THE TESTIMONIES DURING THE MEETING WITH THE GOVERNOR YOU FAILED TO COMPREHEND THAT ON THIS ATTACK, THE DSS PROVIDED CORRECT AND CREDIBLE INTELLIGENCE REPORT???

      Incredible!

      • thusspokez

        THAT ON THIS ATTACK, THE DSS PROVIDED CORRECT AND CREDIBLE INTELLIGENCE REPORT???

        You only knew this after the event. It might well have turned out false.

        Why do you think that the army had not acted on the SSS intelligence? Might it be because the army does not trust the SSS or its intelligence report or both? Mind you that the army has its own military intelligence too.

        Finally, why had the SSS not acted on its own intelligence? After all, its officers carry guns as the army does, So, why had its gun-toting officers not tries to repulse the boko haram attacks? Or does it only specialise in raiding buildings at dawn in towns and cities?

        • revelation

          You are usually objective..but you completely lost it here.
          Sorry I am not here to argue back and forth with you. My point still remains that your statement that the SSS “is not fit to provide correct and reliable intelligence report”, is COMPLETELY FALSE as proven in this instance and countless other times.
          The fact that heads of DSS might have been exposed politically at one time or the other DOES not mean some of you should rubbish the entire organisation.

          FINALLY, why ask me why the SSS ‘had not acted on their own intelligence’??
          DID WE DISCUSS THAT??
          DID I TELL YOU I WORK WITH THE DSS??
          WHY NOT ASK YOURSELF WHAT THE ROLE OF THE SSS IS IN SUCH OPERATIONS IN THE N.E.? (Likely Intel gathering)
          WHY NOT ASK YOURSELF IF THE SSS HAS ENOUGH PERSONNEL ON GROUND TO WARD OFF SUCH LARGE NUMBER OF TERRORISTS??

          Your initial statement was absolute BUNKUM!
          It would’ve served you better if you remained silent.
          B.S!

          • thusspokez

            FINALLY, why ask me why the SSS ‘had not acted on their own intelligence’??

            Some questions should be read as rhetorical. I am sure that if the intelligence were about raiding homes, the SSS would quickly have acted on it.

            It would’ve served you better if you remained silent.

            Do yourself a favour: stop reading and responding to my comment or better still, just block me, and have a peace of mind as the result.

        • Ganiyu

          Oga, your initial statement was off the mark. Stop struggling to defend the indefensible. Most of those SSS guys are very good at their job. Why cast aspersions on the SSS as a whole because of the ‘sins’ of a few regarding the magu issue?

          • thusspokez

            Why cast aspersions on the SSS as a whole because of the ‘sins’ of a few

            As I an outsider, I cannot choose or pick which SSS officers are the good, the bad or the ugly. But I would imagine that any organisation that cares about its image and whose image is being tarnished by a few employees would do the right thing, namely flush out the bad employees and cleans itself.

          • iwe paul

            my brother,i see no sins of any SSS officer as regard the MAGU issue. but i understand the thrust of your reply to thusspokez. the guy appears to be unhinged today

        • khalil

          You sound pathetic.

          ‘The SSS, as we saw with regard to Mr. Magu’s nomination, is not fit to provide correct and reliable intelligence report.’

          That is a most irresponsible comment!

          • thusspokez

            You sound pathetic.

            Is not a counter argument, dude!

        • Tanko

          Are you OK??? The ‘gun-toting’ officers are there primarily for intelligence gathering and not to ‘repulse'(try repel next time) the BH attacks. That is mainly for the military troupes. At best the SSS might provide support.
          What an ignorant question?

          • thusspokez

            Are you OK??? The ‘gun-toting’ officers are there primarily for intelligence gathering and not to ‘repulse’

            Pardon my ignorance! I didn’t know that intelligence agencies used gun is gather intelligence. Perhaps, only in Nigeria!

    • iwe paul

      Your understanding of this report baffles me. For your information,many people believe the SSS report on Magu. This report further strengthens the SSS report against Magu. I hope you are not a blind and unrepentant apologist of this Government,to the extent that you can’t deduce logical and sensible conclusions.

      • thusspokez

        For your information,many people believe the SSS report on Magu

        Speak for yourself and not an imaginary “many”.

        • alhaja tunsj soyemi(iya basira

          “The SSS, as WE saw with regard to Mr. Magu’s nomination, is not fit to provide correct and reliable intelligence report.”

          So, who are the ‘WE’ you are referring to??
          SPEAK FOR YOURSELF AND NOT AN IMAGINARY ‘WE’!!

          • thusspokez

            So, who are the ‘WE’ you are referring to??

            Difference between “we” and “many”

            We = the speaker plus at least, one other (like-minded) person
            Many = large number (off like-minded people)

            Google is your friend!

          • alhaja tunsj soyemi(iya basira

            Lol! No one questioned the difference btwn ‘we & many’.
            You picked him up for using the word ‘many’..saying he should speak for himself.
            You likewise used the word ‘we’..and I also advised you to speak for yourself!
            As strange as the magu report may be in your opinion, do you presume there can’t be ‘many’ people who believe it??
            In a country where MANY people believed buhari would make N1 = $1, sell fuel @ N40/L, and pay 25Million naijas N5000/month..that is N1.5trillion/annum??
            Lol!

          • shittu

            Well said jare. It appears something is wrong somewhere with ‘thusspokez’ today.

          • thusspokez

            “something is wrong somewhere with ‘thusspokez’ today” is not an argument, jare!

          • thusspokez

            As strange as the magu report may be in your opinion, do you presume there can’t be ‘many’ people who believe it??

            There might equally be many who don’t believe the report as your use of “As strange as…” would lead us to conclude, but even then, I have no way of accepting this as facts or indeed, justifiable present it as facts — which is what @iwe paul did. It is a mere conjecture.

            I use “we” because, I can count on my side, the ‘up-votes’ that I received, when I commended on the issue at the time the news broke.

            So there you have my justification for using “we”. Where is @iwe paul’s justification then?

          • Tanko

            So who are the imaginary ‘we’ you are also speaking for?
            Funny guy

          • thusspokez

            “Funny guy” is not an argument!

  • shittu

    This is horrible. Disgraceful!
    APC has completely ruined that country!
    So this is the BH APC claimed to have defeated?
    Who in his right senses would claim to have ‘defeated terrorism’?
    Defeat an ideology with guns?
    APC madness!

  • share Idea

    Hope it was GEJ that told the army not to protect the attacked areas as he wanted BH to wipe off Northerners. Nigeria we hail thee

  • alhaja tunsj soyemi(iya basira

    What a sad one. My condolence to their families.
    Sadly though, if this had to do with saraki, we would’ve seen so many REPTILES crawling out of their slimy holes!
    Strange creatures!

  • Otile

    Mun gode Allah Jonathan has nothing to do with this debacle, the apes in APC would have urged the Fulanis to surround the Niger Delta and wipe us out. Allahu Akbar.

  • Netanyahu

    Army that have instructions to shoot civilians in the south east at sight if they protest, even against non payment of salaries or pension but will run away on sighting, Nigerian albatross, boko haram is no army. It’s only an army of occupation according to Amnesty International. Of course they will soon issue a denial.

  • MammanJiyaVatsa

    Pepper soup and alcohol guzzling Nigerian Army, now, they`re into embezzlement of funds meant to equip the military – Nigerian army is dead.

    I don`t know why the Biafrans can`t take up these great opportunity and launch an onslaught on the Nigerian Army, an Army that can`t contain a riffraff ragtag Boko Haram would never stand the firepower or genius “Ogbunigwe”, If the Igbo`s really want a Biafra state, this is indeed the moment.

    Be rest assured that most of the Uniform wearing Nigerian armed forces members Army, Air-force & Navy personals harassing defenseless people in the South, at illegal checkpoints, and the boarders would all ditch their uniforms and run into the bush.

    There has never truly being a Nigerian Army, what existed is Northern Nigerian Army, because if you don`t speak Hausa/Fulani, or don`t bear an “Mohammed” among your names, you`re nobody within their ranks an file, a Northern recruit may even refused taking orders from you.

    Because, I was once there, and I know it all.

    • Solomon Brown

      I wrote on the army confronting a graver threat in a comment gagged by PT. It is almost impossible to think, our security apparatus can withstand a much larger threat than BHT.

  • Solomon Brown

    Why the censoring premium times?

  • trutometer

    This is very unfortunate and even shameless. It’s obvious coz even the blind can see, the military in this case are to be blamed for BH successful attack on magmeri village. There is a grand conspiracy here. All hands must be on deck and for all security agencies to act as one unit and in one direction, or else the war against BH, a war which is largely seen as coming to an end will all be back to square one. hmmmm Naija, only in Naija.

  • Solomon Brown

    Miscommunication or no communication at all within Nigeria’s security apparatus. Shameful as it is, it is annoying that due to negligence, innocent lives have been taken from their families. A lot more coordination, sharing and also acting on Intel reports, in the future might avert situations as this. Also PT publish my earlier comment, even though it makes you folks uncomfortable. It is too early to be playing games.

  • Nbodejo Umar Mbagea

    Terrorism worldwide has strong support from very powerful governments and organisations that use money, blackmail etc to induce security operatives. Our military must be extra alert to both external and internal subversions and may Allah safeguard Nigeria.

  • Relocation of Head Offices

    RELOCATION of head offices of the environmental terrorists (Oil companies like Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron etc) to the Niger DELTA is a MUST and there is no alternative to the decision. Relocate or leave. In fact the relocation is only temporal because we want to drill our oil by ourselves. The Chinese and North Koreans are waiting to partner the Niger DELTA in this regard after they secede from deformed Nigeria.

    Oil companies and their useless executives MUST live and work in the same environment they pollute daily and refuse to clean up. The relocation must be now. Comrades of the Niger DELTA please take note. Enough is enough!

  • tsunami1earthquake

    Brigadier Usman has no defence to make here; and he made a watery defence after the facts had been presented to him. His double-speak betrays both the negligence and possible criminal conspiracy and the abetting by the military of what had happened. Saying that the military had the facts but were still investigating is just a sore self-contradiction. How could you have the facts and still investigating? Investigation is to enable you have the facts, which you said you already had!

    This is a matter that should go up to the highest military hierarchy because it could be pathognomonic of a greater and more serious development than anybody may see. The first gut conclusion from here is that Fifth Columnists and saboteurs already exist in the military; but I may be wrong. The various reports by different agencies had mentioned many times about messages relayed to the captain in charge of this place. But, in my view, I think any investigations should go well beyond this captain, since he might have been only an instrument of a larger group up the hierarchy to frustrate the signature campaign promise of the president, and thus continue to put the lives of all Nigerians in jeopardy.

    We do hope the president is awake enough to listen and act accordingly.

  • Danre

    …as long as there are Boko Haram sympathizers at all levels of government right from Buhari’s bedroom and by extension the Nigerian Army, there will always be incidents like this. Who expects an Islamist sympathizer not to ignore intelligence reports like this? Even Buhari would have ignored such reports too…going by his misguided utterances in time past which have been openly supportive of terrorism. The only solution to this is brea.k up of Nigeria into the real countries that make up this useless nation…don’t you notice how PT no longer report suicide bombings? No photographs of attacks. Nothing. All they report these days are one corruption case or the other so as to hide Buhari’s smelling ass.

  • Ade_O

    I think there is a bit of ego, kind-of battle for supremacy, among our security/military oufits. They need not be reminded that they are not in any competition whatsoever. They are just partners in progress. Perhaps this whole thing was avoidable.

  • Mean Agenda

    This is unacceptable, I repeat unacceptable. Everybody informed the military and they did nothing but run away? Do they really want this insurgency to come to an end?

    • Ali A-ly

      you have no Idea the amount of money they make, even the small soldiers dont want it to end because of daily allowance, this is to show you how a human is ready to die for money

      • Otile

        For the sake of good money the war is not going to end soon. They just want us to believe that they have rendered Boko Harm weak and ineffective while they continue to might and make $Money.

  • Joseph Dauda

    Kudos to Premium Times for this excellent report that unveils a serious problem. It is an opportunity for correction and those concerned must take note.

  • Ohnigeria Godsavenigeria

    When God’s servant GEJ made that famous statement that Boko Haram was even in his government, men and women of depraved souls, saboteurs, Judas Iscariot race, used it to blackmail Jonathan for stating the obvious truth, they told Nigerians that one baba will just blow out hot air and Boko Haram shall be completely destroyed.
    2years after, it is lies upon lies and denials upon denials while innocent citizens are killed with impunity by Boko Haram.
    If Buhari can’t fulfill his election campaign promises, let him resign and allow peace to reign in Nigeria. Buhari have wounded Nigeria enough.

    • Muhammad Kabir

      But why did the satan’s servant failed to mention the names of the BH members in his government. His silence shows he is adding and abbeting the terrorist group. His lackluster to take appropriate action immediately after the chibok girls were abducted glaringly show his ineptitude and conspiratorial position. So whether you like it or not President Muhammadu Buhari has made enormous strides in the fight against insurgency and corrupt elements in the country, particularly the satan’s servant agents..

  • john

    Definitely this is not the Nigeria Army of my dream as a young boy growing up under my soldier dad in the Military Barracks in the early 80s to late 90s. Sometimes I wonder if it is same Nigeria Army that depleted rebels in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Fighting against rebels in an unknown terrain. We used to hold our heads high when as Barracks Boys each time we hear about our parents, brothers and friends exploit in the battle field. But today,……..Or is it a cause to operate under a democratic government? Lord have mercy on Nigerians and Nigeria.

  • Otile

    Do you want the political war to stop abruptly, how do you expect Buratai and his ilks to make their $billions? Gen Ihejirika who wanted to end the war was a spoiler, and the Northern elites have not forgiven him.

  • George

    45 motors and thousands of Okada in the hands of Bokohari moving at same time at same location yet the Duara armies and duara Airforce couldn’t see them and even the passerby nonentities sense their movement they couldn’t react until the Bokohari came and wipe them off as they desired.

    They shall never have peace in the entire Norther Nigeria for their wickedness will speak evil against them all before God Almighty. Their children will no peace and their generations forever labor in vial. Their children children will live in poverty and in sickness.

  • Umar

    It is pitiful to read how some people quickly wish death and destruction to a particular region, let us not forget that the military does not only post northerners to fight boko haram, your brother,nephew or son could be posted to this region that you so curse and end up losing his life there,so why don’t we pray for peace instead? No one knows tomorrow. This is the mentality killing Nigeria/Nigerians ,where we detest regions, but ask yourself, is it about the region? Or lives? May God help us.

    • Umar

      Kindly note I was referring to comments and not the article.