Col. Sagir Musa, Army Director Public Relations, who disclosed this in a statement, said the annihilation of members of the Boko Haram media team further confirmed that the Nigerian Army has decimated the group and they no longer have freedom of action.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the death of three military personnel on Monday in Borno was “wake-up call’’ for the army to further strategise to defeat terrorists.
He stated this at the burial of Lt.-Col. Ibrahim Aminu, Cpl. Jibril Ahmadu and Lance Cpl. Tijjani Mohammed, at the Maimalari Cantonment Cemetery in Maiduguri on Tuesday.
Aminu, the Commanding Officer, 145 Task Force Battalion and the two soldiers died on Monday when, during patrol, their vehicle ran over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by Boko Haram insurgents. The device exploded.
The incident occurred at Mauli-Borgozo axis in Kaga Local Government Area of Borno.
Buratai said “this threat, IEDs, is real but we are taking all measures to ensure that we counter it.
“The challenge that we are having in the North-East has always been the enemy action, either through encounter or Improvised Explosive Device being exploded on our troops, and today’s burial is one of those incidents that involve IED.
“This is a situation that will require us to be vigilant at all times and to ensure that we protect ourselves from this menace of the IEDs.’’
He described the death of the officer and soldiers as “highly unfortunate and regrettable’’.
“Today, it is with heavy heart that we bury our colleagues who paid the supreme sacrifice in course of duty.
“It is a great loss; we will miss them.
“Let me pay my condolences to the families of the late lieutenant-colonel and two soldiers, and indeed all of us – officers and men of Operation Lafiya Dole and Nigerian army,’’ Buratai lamented.
Meanwhile, the Control and Command Centre of the Operation Lafiya Dole, on Monday unveiled a device to counter IEDs, as part of the measures to tackle the challenge.
The device, a padded roller supported by plate, weighing about 280 kilogrammes and attached to heavy duty truck, is capable of detecting and safely detonating IED.
And, in case the device goes off, the plate protects the vehicle and troops.
At the unveiling in Maiduguri, Buratai assured that apart from the roller, Nigerian Army Manufacturing Company was developing a similar device which would be mass produced “as soon as we get it correct.’’
He said that the device, when produced, would be used to counter the threat of IED.
On general security in the North-East, the army chief said that the situation was improving, but expressed worry about the terrorists’ resilience.
According to him they still move around causing havoc and sometimes attacking military locations.
He charged troops to sit up and deal with the terrorists, who he described as “criminal elements bent on destabilising the country and make life difficult for the citizens’’.
“We should not allow them to triumph over us.
“This should never be allowed to happen and therefore, we must make sure that we deal with them decisively and to do that, we must remain alert, conscious of our environment and must be vigilant all times.
“What is required now is just vigilance.
“We must ensure that all suspicious movements in and around locations are reported or actions are taken and arrest made. This will help us in this operation,’’ he said.
Buratai said that efforts were being made to procure required equipment and platforms for the ongoing operations, adding very soon, the first set of consignment would be delivered to the army.
He said that the equipment would greatly help to address some of the gaps observed in operations.
He disclosed that the military was taking “some strong and decisive measures’’ to checkmate the activities of the “Boko Haram jihadists’’.
The COAS urged citizens, especially Borno and Yobe states people, to be patient with whatever steps being taken to contain the terrorists.
“There may be some inconveniences; it is for the good of all of us, people of Borno and Yobe, and indeed, all Nigerians,’’ he said.
Troops of the Nigerian Army have rescued 54 Boko Haram kidnapped persons in Borno, including 29 women and 25 children.
In a statement, Col. Sagir Musa, the Acting Director Army Public Relations, said the victims were freed after troops cleared Ma’allasuwa and Yaa-Munye villages in the state.
Musa explained that the terrorists fled from the troops’ onslaught and abandoned their victims.
He also said that troops on clearance operation in Damasak general area of Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno, destroyed two Boko Haram logistics vehicles and make shift camp.
In another development, Musa disclosed that a Mobile policeman, Sgt. Markus John, with number PNo 383106 was arrested at Njimtilo check point along Maiduguri-Damaturu road, while on transit to Lagos.
He said that at the time of arrest, John was in possession of two magazines, 146 rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition and one round of anti aircraft gun concealed in his bag.
On May 10, Musa said the army in conjunction with the police, arrested Pte Paul Ojochegbe (14NA7113208) and Lance Cpl. Oko Eke (12NA672586), also at the Njimtilo check point.
He alleged that they were in possession of one disassembled AK 47 Rifle.
Musa restated the army’s appeal to the public to continue to provide useful information about suspicious movement of terrorists and criminals.
Troops on operation `Exercise Harbin Kunama III’’, have arrested a suspect the army described as “notorious’’ bandit logistics supplier, Marwana Abubakar in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State.
Similarly, Army Spokesperson, Col. Sagir Musa said in a statement that troops have also arrested a local weapons fabricator, Salisu Ibrahim during a raid on suspected facility at Kontagora in Kontagora Local Government Area of Niger.
On Wednesday, based on credible information, troops raided kidnappers’ hideout in Kaduna, killed two suspected bandits and recovered two AK 47 rifles and ammunition.
In a related development, Musa said troops of 6 Division on routine patrol discovered illegal refining sites at Oyakama community in Ahoada West LGA of Rivers and arrested two suspected oil thieves.
According to him, two pipeline vandals and illegal oil bunkerers were intercepted along Sapele-Warri road in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta and their vehicles destroyed.
Two pipelines vandals, he added, were arrested at Ogbagbene Jetty in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
The Nigeria Army has banned the use of motorcycles in the forests of six of the seven northwest States and Niger.
The states are Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi and Kaduna.
The army warned that any caught violating the ban would be considered as bandits and kidnappers.
According to Army spokesman Col Sagir Musa the ban has become imperative given the fact bandits perpetrate their nefarious activities with the use of motorcycles.
A statement signed by Col.Musa reads:” The Nigerian Army (NA) over time has observed the use of motorcycles by armed bandits, kidnappers, criminal elements and their collaborators as enablers to perpetrate their heinous crimes especially in the states within the north west geopolitical zone of the country.
“This informed the decision and directive to ban the use of motorcycles within the hinterland particularly around the Forests where the armed bandits, criminals and kidnappers hibernate and all around where troops are conducting operations alongside other security agencies.
“While this may cause some inconveniences to some law abiding citizens in the area, the need to use all means possible to stop the dastardly activities of these bandits across the North West part of Nigeria needs no emphasis.
“The general public, particularly in the North West and some parts of North Central in Nigeria where Ex HARBIN KUNAMA is ongoing are enjoined to bear with the NA as concerted efforts are being made to combat the insecurity menace ongoing within the area.
“In this wise, it is hereby reiterated that the use of motorcycles remain banned within the forest areas in KANO, KATSINA, ZAMFARA, SOKOTO, KADUNA, KEBBI and NIGER States.
“Anyone caught using motorcycles within the named areas will be taken for an armed bandit, criminal and kidnapper with dire consequences.
“The respective State Governments are enjoined to please disseminate the ban on the use of motorcycles in the named areas and enforce the ban in conjunction with the Security Agencies. “
The Nigerian Army has announced new postings in its leadership structures.
Among those affected were the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps, Maj. Gen. SZ Kazaure who has been moved to the Army Resource Centre, Abuja.
A statement by Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa said the appointment takes immediate effect.
The statement reads: “The Nigerian Army has approved the postings and appointments of some of its senior officers.”
Those affected by this include, Major General SZ Kazaure who has been posted from National Youth Service Corps to Nigerian Army Resource Centre and appointed as Senior Resource Person, Brigadier General CA Bossman from Nigerian Army Achives to Command Schools Services and appointed as Director Command Schools Services.
“Brigadier General E Angaye is appointed Acting Director Veterans Affairs Department (Army) and Brigadier General BA Tsoho is posted from Army Headquarters Department of Civil-Military Affairs to Nigerian Army Language Institute and appointed as Commandant.
“Others affected in the postings are Brigadier General AA Goni from 82 Division Education to Army Headquarters Department of Civil-Military Affairs and appointed Director Information, Brigadier General FC Onyeari from Headquarters Nigerian Army Supply and Transport to Defence Headquarters and appointed as Acting Director Catering, Brigadier General S Ibrahim from Nigerian Army University, Biu to National Youth Service Corps and appointed as Director General, Brigadier General SS Ibrahim is now appointed Registrar, Nigerian Army University Biu.
“The postings and appointments are with immediate effect.”
Troops of the Nigerian Army attached to Operation Harbin Kunama 3 have arrested the traditional heads of Doka and Mutu villages in the Gusau Local Government Area of the state for serving as informants to bandits.
The troops also shot dead six bandits in Kirsa and Sunke villages in the Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara State during a gun battle.
The arrest of the traditional heads comes two weeks after the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, said some traditional rulers in Zamfara and the North-West region helped bandits to perpetuate criminal activities.
Although the Zamfara State Council of Chiefs denied the allegations, the minister insisted in another statement by his Public Relations Officer, Col Tukur Gusau, a week later that the Federal Government had some security reports from the region indicting some traditional rulers of complicity in banditry and killings in the state.
According to the army on Monday, apart from the arrests of the leaders of Doka and Mutu villages, whose names were not disclosed, the troops nabbed 16 other suspected informants and errand men to the bandits.
The troops were on a clearance operation in Kirsa and Sunke villages in the Anka Local Government Area when they ambushed the bandits and engaged them in a shoot-out for about two hours.
The soldiers thereafter killed six of the bandits, recovered two AK-47 rifles and two motorcycles.
It was learnt that the bandits were armed with “sophisticated automatic weapons” but were forced to flee, abandon their camps and logistics, which were subsequently destroyed by the troops.
The Director, Army Public Relations, in a statement on Monday, confirmed the arrests of the village leaders and the deaths, of the bandits, saying three motorcycles, two dane guns, two machetes, among others were recovered from the bandits in Gusau Local Government Area.
He said, “Troops on Operation Harbin Kunama 3, based on credible intelligence about bandits’ movements in Kirsa and Sunke in the Anka LGA, continued with a clearance operation into the hinterland to clear the brigands.
“Consequently, the troops engaged the bandits in a shoot-out at the bushes of Kirsa and Sunke villages which resulted in the extermination of six criminals, the recovery of two AK-47 rifles and two motorcycles.
“In Doka and Mutu villages in the Gusau LGA, troops also had a serious encounter on Saturday with a group of bandits which lasted for about two hours. The brigands were armed with sophisticated automatic weapons, but they were overpowered by the troops, forcing them to flee from their hideouts. Eighteen suspected informants to the bandits were arrested, including the village heads of Doka and Mutu villages.”
He added, “The Force Commander, Maj.-Gen Hakeem Otiki, said the troops would continue to go after bandits in Zamfara and the contiguous states of Kebbi, Katsina and Sokoto.”
Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Council of Chiefs has denied apologising to the Nigerian Air Force over its allegations that innocent villagers were victims of air strikes targeted at bandits and kidnappers terrorising the state.
Chairman of the state Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad, the Emir of Anja, while speaking to newsmen on Monday, described the report that the emirs apologised as baseless.
Recalling what transpired when the Chief of Air Staff delegation visited him, Alhaji Ahmad said, “I received an entourage led by Air Vice Marshall Idi Lubo, who was in the state to condole and sympathised with the entire people of the state over a mistake made by NAF that consumed innocent lives.
“In my remarks, there was no where I apologised that NAF mistakenly killed innocent lives during its bombardments on targeted camps operated by bandits across some villages in the state recently but, I rather used words of respect as did by the August visitor which had been our tradition when receiving guests.
“Our council meeting had, based on credible reports, believed that the killings of innocent people had occurred and we stand by our position. If later, I would come back to make a U-turn on that matter then, I should not remain as Emir,” he said.
Attahiru further said that NAF had accepted that the action was a mistake.
Troops of the Nigerian army wiped out a band of Boko Haram terrorists who attempted to attack Damaturu, the capital of Yobe on Tuesday.
Troops of 233 Battalion, upon receiving intelligence that the terrorists were coming to the city, laid ambush for them at the outskirts on Kukareta Road. The terrorists were completely overwhelmed by the Nigerian soldiers in the surprise counter-attack.
Many were killed and some escaped from the scene.
Lt. Njoka Irabor, acting assistant director Army Public Relations for Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole explained the battle in a statement on Tuesday night:
“Following credible information of planned efforts by Boko Haram terrorists to attack Damaturu, troops of Sector 2, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, successfully laid an ambush which led to the extermination of many Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs), that attempted to attack Damaturu, Yobe State at about 5:15 pm, Tuesday the 9th of April 2019.
“The vigilant troops effectively ambushed the criminals few metres ahead of Maisandari community at the outskirts of the city of Damaturu.
“The terrorists were overwhelmed by the superior fire power of the gallant troops and the well coordinated air support, from the Air Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE.
“Consequently, many terrorists met their waterloo. Some were also wounded.
Among the items recovered from the terrorists were two Gun Trucks, two Anti Aircraft Guns, one 60 Millimetre Mortar, four AK 47 Rifles, one General Purpose Machine Gun and 1,245 Rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition.
Irabor said Nigerian troops have embarked on hot pursuit of the terrorists who fled from the attack.
The Army has confirmed the rescue of Sheik Ahmed Suleiman, a renowned Islamic cleric and five others, kidnapped in Katsina State on March 14.
The Commander, 17 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Katsina, Brig.-Gen. L.T. Omoniyi, confirmed the rescue in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to Omoniyi, the captives were released in the early hours of Wednesday.
He also said that all the rescued victims were “in good health condition as ascertained by the medical examination conducted on them by the brigade’s medical centre.
The commander said that the incident occurred along Kakumi-Kankara road, a general area in Kankara Local Government Area of the state on March 14.
Omoniyi said that the rescue of the victims was sequel to the order by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai to the brigade to carry out the operation.
He said the operation was conducted with relevant security agencies, while the Nigeria Army Directorate of Military Intelligence provided actionable intelligence and guidance for the brigade in the operation.
The commander reaffirmed the commitment of the 17 brigade of the Nigerian army to ensure safety of lives and property in the state. (NAN)
The Nigerian Army has warned the United Kingdom against interfering in Nigeria’s elections following comments by the UK that the role of the military in the Rivers State elections was improper.
The British High Commission in Nigeria had in a series of tweets on Monday expressed concerns over the report of military interference in the election in Rivers State.
It said the military interference in the polls put stress on the staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission and has made it difficult for them to carry out their duties.
However, the army said in a statement by acting Director of Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, that the allegations were baseless.
In a statement titled, ‘Re: UK expresses concern over military involvement in Rivers poll’, the army denied allegations that its men contributed to the electoral problems in the state.
“Foreign interests are enjoined to be mindful of interfering in our national internal affairs especially when there is no credible evidence. Any allegation against the NA must be confirmed from appropriate quarters before jumping to conclusions,” the army said.
The agency said there was no evidence to show that its men compromised the exercise.
The statement added, “The NA wishes to state that the statement is totally baseless, untrue and therefore capable of misleading unsuspected members of the public, especially when there is no credible record of such involvement anywhere in Nigeria before, during and after the 2019 elections.
“The NA, as a responsible organisation, wishes to debunk such misrepresentation in order to set the record straight. Similarly, it is on record that the NA has been globally applauded by many individuals, foreign and local elections observers for its sacrifices/roles in creating an enabling environment for a secure, transparent and peaceful conduct of the elections.”
The army maintained that politicians gave hoodlums military uniforms which confused members of the public.
It said it would continue to remain neutral during and after the polls, adding that it was only providing assistance to civilian security agencies.
The Nigerian Army says it is working with Interpol to declare Dr. Perry Brimah, a Nigerian in Diaspora wanted over a fraudulent global fund raising to provide food for troops in the North East.
It said its attention was drawn to the “fraudulent and criminal’’ venture by Brimah, tagged “Global campaign to provide food for Nigerian soldiers fighting Boko Haram.’’
Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, the spokesman of the army in a statement on Wednesday, urged the general public to provide any information on the whereabouts of “this fraudster.’’
Usman further alleged that Brimah embarked on the venture “ostensibly to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, especially the international community to fund subversive activities and personal life style.’’
“The criminal is using the following contact points for the fund raising, https://www.gofundme.com/feed-nigerian-soldiers/info @ ENDS.ng Tel: +1-929-427-5305; Whatsapp: +234-903-420-3031.
“We wish to state that the Nigerian soldiers deployed to the North East or elsewhere, neither lack logistics nor food as the fraudster wants unsuspecting members of the public to believe.
“The Nigerian army never faltered in providing necessary logistics to troops to the extent of providing extras, especially during festive periods,’’ Usman said.
He said the move by Brimah was nothing but a scam as there was nowhere in the world where troops were fed through donations by members of the public.
According to him, there has never been complaints of lack of food by soldiers talk less of starvation.
The army spokesman stressed that neither Brimah nor his agents represent the Nigerian army or its soldiers.
“Whoever believes and fall victim to this criminal act does so at his or her own risk,’’ he said.
Abdul’aziz Yari, governor of Zamfara state, has visited soldiers who sustained injuries in an ambush by bandits on Saturday.
The soldiers are currently recuperating at the Federal Medical Center, Gusau, capital of Zamfara.
The governor was accompanied by 9Sanusi Rikiji, speaker of the state house of assembly and heads of security agencies in the state.
In a statement, Ibrahim Dosara, spokesman of the governor, said Ahmad Danjuma, a captain, received the governor and his entourage on Sunday.
“The Zamfara State Governor and Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Hon. (Dr) Abubakar on Sunday 30th December, 2018 has sympathised with the military officer and seven soldiers that were wounded in a recent battle with bandits in Dumburum Forest of Zurmi Local Government Area,” the statement read.
“The Governor who was in the Federal Medical Centre Gusau where the affected officer and soldiers are receiving medical treatment, visited them with a view to ascertaining their condition.
“Hon. Abdul’aziz Yari during the visit talked with the officer Captain Ahmad Yusuf Danjuma alongside the seven soldiers and expressed satisfaction with the way they are responding to treatment.
“He reassured his administration’s relentless commitment to the sustainability of security agencies’ welfare and the logistical supports to strengthen them in the fight against banditry and other criminal activities in the state.”
A military source said that the bandits opened fire on soldiers who were on an operation in the forest.
The source said the attackers who had bombs and sophisticated weapons gunned down many soldiers.
The high rate of insecurity in the north-west state has been a source of concern to the government.
Over 3000 people have reportedly been killed in the state in the last two years.
The Nigerian Army has called for the closure of Amnesty International (AI) offices in Nigeria, alleging there is credible evidence the organisation is working hard to destabilise the country.
Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, said in a statement on Monday that the organisation’s attempt to destabilise the nation was noted through fabrication of fictitious allegations of alleged human rights abuses against the Nigerian security forces.
Usman also alleged the AI had engaged in clandestine sponsorship of dissident groups to protest, as well as unfounded allegations against the leadership of the Nigerian military.
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Enough is Enough, and BudgIT) have recently called for the probing of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) over the funding of the war against terrorism and other crimes in the country.
The CSOs alleged the army had not made commensurate achievement in the fight in line with the huge fund the federal government allocated to the fight.
The COAS, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, had however explained that some of the allocated funds has yet to be cash backed and that it had not reached the army.
Usman said the Nigerian branch of AI that has hitherto been well respected has deviated from the core values, principles and objectives of the original parent body in the United Kingdom.
“They have tried over the years using Boko Haram terrorists conflicts, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, some activists and now herders-farmers conflicts.
“The NGO is at the verge of releasing yet another concocted report against the military, ostensibly against the Nigerian Army.
“Consequently, Nigerians should be wary of Amnesty International (Nigeria) because it’s goals are to destabilise Nigeia and to dismember it.
“The Nigerian Army has no option than to call for the closure of Amnesty International offices in Nigeria, if such recklessness continues.
The Nigerian army has lifted the suspension placed on the activities of UNICEF in the north-east.
Onyema Nwachukwu,deputy director public relations of the army, disclosed this in a statement issued late Friday.
Nwachukwu said the decision followed “intervention by well-meaning Nigerians”.
He added that the military had met with representatives of the humanitarian agency and ironed out the issues which led to the action.
“Sequel to intervention by well meaning and concerned Nigerians over the recent suspension of UNICEF operations in the North East theatre of operations, the Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE convened and held an emergency meeting with representatives of UNICEF this evening,” the statement read.
“During the meeting, the Theatre Command admonished the representatives of the organization to desist from activities inimical to Nigeria’s national security and capable of undermining ongoing fight against terrorism and insurgency. The Command also urged UNICEF representatives to ensure they share information with relevant authorities whenever induction or training of new staff is being conducted in the theatre.
“Consequently, after extensive deliberations on the need to seek modalities to work harmoniously with the security agencies in the theatre of operation, the Theatre Command has henceforth lifted the three months suspension earlier imposed on UNICEF activities in North Eastern Nigeria.”
Earlier, the army had accused UNICEF of sabotaging the fight against insurgency.
The military had come under severe criticism for halting activities of the global body.
The Nigerian army has suspended the activities of UNICEF in the north-eastern part of the country, accusing the humanitarian agency of sabotaging the fight against Boko Haram.
In a statement by Onyema Nwachukwu, deputy director, public relations of the army, the military said it took the action since the organisation had been sabotaging the war against insurgency.
“The Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE has observed with dismay that some of the activities of International humanitarian agencies and Non-governmental organisations’ operating in the North East have left so much to be desired,” the statement read.
“There is credible information that some of them are indulging in unwholesome practices that could further jeopardise the fight against terrorism and insurgency, as they train and deploy spies who support the insurgents and their sympathisers.
“It is baffling to note that some of these organisations have been playing the terrorists’ script with the aim to continue demoralising the troops who are doing so much to protect the lives of victims of Boko Haram Terrorism and safe guard them from wanton destruction of property and means the of livelihood. The Theatre Command considers the actions of these organisations as a direct assault and insult on the sensibilities of Nigerians, as they tend to benefit more from expanding the reign of terror on our people.
“Consequently, the Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE is suspending the operations of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the North East theatre until further notice. This has become inevitable since the organisation has abdicated its primary duty of catering for the wellbeing of children and the vulnerable through humanitarian activities and now engaged in training selected persons for clandestine activities to continue sabotaging the counter terrorism and Counter insurgency efforts of troops through spurious and unconfirmed allegations bothering on alleged violations of human rights by the military.”
Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection International (STTEP), a South African mercenary company, says President Muhammadu Buhari rejected intelligence warnings about operations of Boko Haram in Borno state.
STTEP was employed by former president Goodluck Jonathan in January 2015 to assist the Nigerian army in the war against the insurgents.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Eeben Barlow, STTEP chairman, said Nigerian soldiers have been reaching out for help since his company’s services were terminated.
Barlow is speaking out in the wake of the deadly killing of Nigerian soldiers by Boko Haram insurgents.
The latest attack in Melete village, Borno, is believed to have led to the death of no less than 100 soldiers.
Weighing in on the development, Barlow said Buhari’s administration did not allow his company to complete the objective of “degrading and destroying” Boko Haram in Borno.
He wrote: “There is, in a purely military sense, no such thing as a ‘technical defeat’—something the President, as an ex-military man ought to know. Sadly, he also chose to make the successes of 7 Infantry Division and 72 Mobile Strike Force (MSF) his own, when it wasn’t.
“President Buhari and his team were, however, part of the political leader group that led the vocal charge about STTEP’s presence in Nigeria. Indeed, they made it known that the company’s presence would not be tolerated under his office.
“The initial 3-phase campaign strategy (known as ‘Operational Anvil’) to degrade and destroy BH in Borno State, was rejected by his advisors.
“Many of the men we trained as part of 72 Mobile Strike Force have remained in contact with us (STTEP), pleading for our return to Nigeria. They have also told us that they have been used to a point of exhaustion.
“Prior to, and following our departure from Nigeria, we issued numerous intelligence warnings to his government. These intelligence warnings were all rejected in favour of a false belief. Neighbouring countries were advised not to listen to us as it was claimed to be a cheap attempt to ‘get a contract’. Chad, Cameroon and Niger are now also reaping the benefits of rejecting intelligence in favour of an agenda-driven narrative.”
In a statement released on Saturday by his media team, the president described the attack as a national tragedy and warned Nigerians against politicising it.
A week after the fighters of the Islamic State West African Province, ISWAP attacked the Nigerian Army 157 Battalion’s base in Metele, Borno State, scores of dead and missing soldiers had yet to be located as air assets have been deployed in the area for search and rescue, according to military sources.
Also, troops have found it difficult to evacuate the decomposing bodies of soldiers who were brutally killed by the terrorists in the attack on the Metele military base last Sunday.
A military source said on Saturday that the troops that were sent to evacuate the remains of the slain soldiers were attacked by the insurgents and had to beat a tactical withdrawal.
The source said, “As of yesterday, around 10am, troops from 7 Brigade Baga went to Kangarwa 119 Task Force Battalion Defence Company’s location to recover three armoured tanks. They were ambushed and the insurgents carted away the tanks.
The source, who lamented that the morale among the soldiers was at an all-time low, said the bodies of those killed in Sunday’s attack on Metele were already decomposing in the bushes as the insurgents had continued to lay siege to the community.
“The corpses of those killed in Metele are still not evacuated and the soldiers that went for the evacuation were 147. They were attacked at the entrance to Metele,” said the source who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity.
“A captain was captured alive by the insurgents; the insurgents killed six soldiers from the company with seven soldiers still missing.”
He said apart from human loss, “the soldiers that went for the evacuation lost a battle tank and a gun truck to the insurgents.”
On the loss during the initial siege to Metele, he said, “Last Sunday’s attack on Metele, on the 157 Task Force Battalion, Metele, led to the loss of six officers and 56 soldiers, the eagle battle tanks, APC, riffles, mortars and bombs were all taking away by the insurgents.”
He said the company was able to evacuate six corpses in spite of the ambush.
The Nigerian army has commented on the Boko Haram attacks on Nigerian soldiers, the most recent in Metele, Borno state.
The deadly attack on the 157 task force battalion stationed in Metele left scores of soldiers dead while some are still missing.
Some estimates put the casualty figure at over 100, but the army while commenting on Friday, failed to divulge the death toll.
The army’s statement read: “The attention of the NA has been drawn to several social media, print, electronic and online publications about the recent attack on 157 Task Force Battalion at Metele. Whilst it is true that there was an attack on the location on 18 November 2018, it has however, become necessary to correct several misinformation being circulated with regards to this unfortunate event.
“It is important for the public to note that the NA has laid down procedures for reporting incidents that involve its personnel who fall casualty in action. Out of respect for the families of our gallant troops, the NOKs are first notified before any form of public information so as to avoid exacerbating the grief family members would bear, were they to discover such from unofficial sources.
“Furthermore, it suffices to observe that several social media, print and online publications have been brandishing false casualty figures as well as circulating various footages of old and inaccurate BHT propaganda videos and alluding same to be the attack on 157 Task Force Battalion. Whilst it is understandable how such misinformation can spread in this era of social media frenzy, the spurious circulation of some of these videos only contribute to further propagate the propaganda intent of the terrorists; to misinform the populace and portray themselves as what they are not. So far, the situation is that the location is under control as reinforcing units have been able to repel the terrorists and stabilize the situation.
“The NA sincerely wishes to thank the various arms of government, MDAs and sister security agencies that have stood with her in these trying times; by commiserating with the families of the fallen heroes who have paid the supreme price for the defence of our dearly beloved country. The necessary support being given the NA by the Federal Government and the goodwill of the Nigerian populace will undoubtedly continue to spur the NA towards the ultimate defeat of the highly degraded BHTs.”
Following the latest attack, President Muhammadu Buhari dispatched Mansur Dan-Ali, minister of defence, for an emergency meeting with Chadian President Idris Deby.
Nigerian soldiers fighting Boko Haram release video, lament obsolete weapons, accuse commanders of corruption
Some Nigerian soldiers in a video obtained on Friday accused top commanders of leading them to ‘Boko Haram slaughter’ armed with obsolete weapons while enriching themselves with cash meant for buying better arms.
The hazy video, apparently taken from a camera phone, featured the soldiers expressing their anger in harsh tones.
An army officer in Borno said many of the soldiers in the video were killed in the latest Boko Haram attack on Metele, according to a report by Premium Times.
That has, however, not been independently verified.
In the video, the soldiers claimed their top commanders are using the Boko Haram war as an enterprise to enrich themselves at the expense of their lives.
The five minutes and 51 seconds video was, according to inside military sources, made shortly after troops prosecuting the Boko Haram war in the northern part of Borno State suffered a devastating attack at their location in Metele village on October 8.
The military admitted the attack then but downplayed the tragedy saying the situation had been contained and terrorists pushed back.
Weeks later, however, the same location was attacked again by Boko Haram.
Premium Times had published reports on the last Sunday attack in which over 100 soldiers died.
This newspaper also published a story from a disturbing video released by Boko Haram detailing how a previous attack happened.
The army on Friday, five days after the attack, released a statement admitting the latest Meteor attack but refused to provide official casualty figure.
The army is, however, yet to speak on this video by the soldiers and its spokesperson could not be reached at the time of this report.
The military has however said in the past that it was committed to the welfare of its soldiers and was doing its best to provide best weapons for them.
Although the army and other security agencies have demanded improved funding, army chief, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, who has visited the battlefronts in the North-east several times, has also repeatedly charged soldiers and their commanders to show more commitment in defending Nigerian territory against terrorists and other armed groups.
Worried about the rising cases of missing soldiers in Boko Haram attack, Mr Buratai issued a warning to troops on the battlefront against fleeing from insurgents in August, threatening errant personnel with a tough prosecution.
The Defence Headquarters announced last week it had taken new delivery of military equipment, boasting of a tough time ahead for insurgents.
The video by the aggrieved soldiers showed them displaying most of their war vehicles which they said were not only obsolete but unserviceable.
The soldiers said despite huge resources released by the government for the purpose of buying modern armament for the troops, the Nigeria military only supplies them with obsolete weapons, “that can’t stand any good fight with Boko Haram.”
They were heard saying in the video that their military commanders are using them to “make money” by deploying war tanks that have outlived their usefulness.
The soldiers said many of their colleagues were killed by the insurgents who also seized arms and ammunition.
Most of the soldiers – about 147 of them – that were featured in the video – died in the latest attack, a military source informed PREMIUM TIMES. This is yet to be independently verified.
Different muffled voices of soldiers spoke in the clips as they lamented the way their colleagues were killed.
“We are Nigerian soldiers dumped here in the middle of the desert. See how the Nigeria military is treating us. This place has just been attacked; see our fellow soldiers how they are burnt alive inside Hilux vans. They are using us to make money; why is it so? Are we not human beings?”
The soldiers said the Boko Haram attackers also went away with some high calibre motorised weapons like multiple rocket launchers, called 40-Barrel.
PREMIUM TIMES checks reveal that 40-barrel officially known as BM-21, is one of the world’s deadliest war weapon.
On wheels, it can launch up to 40 122mm rockets in 20 seconds, at ranges up to 20km. It is designed to deliver its deadly ammunition over an area rather than a point
“This is the place the Boko Haram came to take away 40-barrel,” the soldiers said.
“Look at how MRAP (mine resistant ambush protection) vehicles were destroyed. If RPG can penetrate MRAP, is it we human beings that it cannot destroy?”
The soldiers, who were deployed to Metele shortly after the October 8 attack, said about 147 of them were on the ground at the time they were shooting the video.
“We are 147 soldiers deployed here now, and they want to come and waste us. We will not accept that. Our blood is not meant to be spilt here; we are going to report to the federal government that we are using old war vehicles.”
The soldiers were seen in the video taking inventory of the number of war vehicles destroyed by the Boko Haram.
“This is T72 war tank that Albarnawi group came to destroy. Why are they using us to make money? We need the federal government to interfere (intervene) before they allow that terrorist called Albarnawi to come and kill us. He is being taken everywhere to collect money and then coming here to kill us.
“The federal government should come to our aid, these people (commanders) said we are nothing but zombies who don’t know our rights. But what they don’t know is that we are millennium soldiers, learned soldiers, not Oluyole (fake); we are not 63 NA soldiers, we are not 79 NA soldiers; most of us are graduates here.
“This is another T12 that was destroyed during the attack. Even the T12 tanks are very obsolete because they were procured during the regime of (Shehu) Shagari. These T12 war tanks were manufactured in 1983 in Slovakia.
“The equipment is not working; once you fire two rounds, you have to stop the engine to let it cool down; and before it could pick up again, Boko Haram would have entered and caused havoc. We have nothing protecting us here except some sand parapet and barbed wire. This place Metele is the exact place they killed troops of the Operation Last Hold.
“Despite all the money the federal government gave them they could not buy modern weapons, all they could do was to refurbish 1983 vehicles. The federal government gave them money to buy the best vehicles but the Nigeria army is here busy buying locally made like Innoson vehicles.”
Danger of 40-Barrel In Hands Of Boko Haram
A soldier with expertise on ballistics told PREMIUM TIMES that the 40-barrel in the hands of the terrorists is a tragedy waiting to explode.
“It does not only deliver 40 missiles to a range of 20km, rather, when a full blast of 40 warheads are fired, it spreads and covers a lethal area of about 600m x 600m, and on impact, they can produce a substantial fragmentation effect.
“Our prayer is that we retrieve the weapon or get its location and destroy it or the terrorists should not have the technical know-how of operating it, because it is highly technical to operate,” said the soldier who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) says the army cannot face its members if they had weapons.
The group made the comment on Monday during a press conference on the recent clash between soldiers and its members in Abuja.
Abdullahi Zango, leader of the group, said the statement issued by the military and police over the killing of Shi’ites were “fabricated lies cooked up to cover their atrocities”.
He accused the soldiers of attacking defenceless protesters.
Zango said: “They continue to say that we are armed, this is a blatant lie. If we are armed, Nigeria army cannot face us.
“If we have weapons with us, Nigeria army is too small to face us. With our courage and bravery, with empty hands, they are running away from us talk less of when we have arms.
“They know that we are not armed because they are cowards.”
Zango also accused the police of planting persons with arms among the Shi’ites in a bid to incriminate the group.
He said the movement has paid N8 million as hospital bills for 106 Shi’ites who are receiving treatment at various hospitals in Abuja.
He noted that an additional N25 million will be needed to cater for other casualties who are still recuperating.
He said the total number of persons killed by the security agents is now 47.
Zango added that the group does not regret throwing stones at the security agents during the clash, saying it is the only weapon of the defenceless.
He said: “The situation of throwing stones at them, yes it is the weapon of somebody who is not armed.”
The Nigerian army has been criticised over the handling of the altercation by its troops.
The killing of Shi’ites has been condemned by many Nigerians and rights groups, including Amnesty International, which accused the soldiers of “firing live ammunition to disperse a peaceful gathering without warning”.
The defence headquarters recently issued a fresh warning to the Shi’ites, saying “we don’t have rubber bullets when we are sent on assignments“.
Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, leader of the IMN, has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since December 2015.