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CDS: Military scaling up use of soft power in counter-insurgency operations

Christopher Musa, the chief of defence staff (CDS) Christopher Musa, the chief of defence staff (CDS)

Christopher Musa, the chief of defence staff (CDS), says the military is scaling up the use of hard and soft power in its counter-insurgency operations.

The CDS spoke on Monday while delivering a lecture “Non-kinetic operations and the Nigerian armed forces”, at the opening of a national security course on “psychological operations and strategic communication (PSYOPS)” in Abuja.

The course was organised by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) with the theme, “Winning hearts and minds for national cohesion and development”.

The CDS spoke through Daupreye Matthew, director of training, at the defence headquarters.

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Musa said the use of non-kinetic efforts under Operation safe corridor led to the surrender of more than 2,000 Boko Haran members between 2016 and 2017.

He said 67 percent of those who surrendered were of the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram.

Musa added that 1,543 repentant terrorists graduated from Mallam Sidi camp in Gombe state, adding that another 1,935 were released from Bulumkutu camp in Borno between 2016 and 2022.

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The CDS noted that from July 2021 to May 4, 2022, alone, 51,828 terrorists and their family members surrendered to the Nigerian Army.

He added that 13,360 of those who surrendered were fighters.

Musa said 106,000 terrorists and their family members had so far surrendered in the north -east.

He advocated for individual case management and referral services as well as community-based peace-building, reconciliation and reintegration.

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On his part, Emmanuel Undiandeye, the chief of defence intelligence (CDI), said the programme was organised to boost security experts’ understanding of the dynamics of psychological operations and strategic communication.

He said the use of strategic communication influences operations while non-kinetic tools are deployed to win hearts and minds, as well as enhance national security and cohesion.

“Suffice to say that the importance of PSYOPS as an instrument of statecraft, governance and national security cannot be over-emphasised,” NAN quoted Undiandeye as saying.

“The agency is more intentional about the benefits of the application of PSYOPS instruments which include the use of soft power in the attainment of national security objectives.

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“I am fully aware that the distinguished participants of this course were drawn from the various federal and state MDAs, including the armed forces, police, other sister intelligence and security agencies as well as the media.”

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