The Defence Headquarters has said that the reported activities of the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups in West Africa is not new.
It stated that the Nigerian security forces were conscious of their operations and had been working to contain them.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, said this at a briefing in Abuja on Thursday while reacting to the warning by the Commander, United States Special Operations Command Africa, Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, on Tuesday.
He stated that the commander’s alert was merely a call to sustain the onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists and their allies.
Anderson had cautioned that the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups were exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic and gradually taking over the West African region after losing ground in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East.
The Commander also revealed that Al-Qaeda had expanded in Mali and also moved into northern Burkina Faso, where they attacked infrastructure, took out local governance and security forces, and are controlling the local economy.
But Enenche in his reaction said the Armed Forces was not oblivious of the potency of such infiltration, noting that “it was the Nigerian military who raised the alarm of movement of terrorists from the Middle East to West Africa and is conscious of it.”
The coordinator further noted that the movement of insurgents from Libya was equally revealed by Nigerian security services.
He noted, “Our attention is 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 10 years and the armed forces and the country are conscious of it.
“When the conflict in Libya was officially declared ended, which did not end, what happened? It was we, our NIA (National Intelligence Agency), state service, and all that raised the information that these people are moving.
“Have we not captured foreigners among the people that have been terrorising 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.”
The major general assured Nigerians that certain strategies had been put in place to halt the insurgents.