20 August 2014

Nigeria: Soldiers Rebel over Lack of Weapons to Fight Boko Haram

Photo: Leadership
Nigerian army (file photo).

A group of soldiers in the North-eastern part of the country is refusing to fight Islamist sect, Boko Haram, until they receive better equipment, one of the mutineers has told the BBC Hausa Service.

The soldier, who requested anonymity, said at least 40 of his colleagues would refuse orders to be deployed to battle the insurgents.

But in a swift reaction, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has denied the report, saying there was no mutiny in the army.
The denial by the DHQ came as indications emerged yesterday that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, has ordered the arrest of soldiers and officers of Battalion 195 who are alleged to have deserted their operational duties in Biu near Damboa in Borno State.

The soldier was quoted as saying: "Soldiers are dying like fowl.
"The Nigerian Army is not ready to fight Boko Haram," he said, explaining that soldiers were not being given enough weapons and ammunition to take them on.

"Boko Haram are inside the bush, everywhere. "They (senior commanders) are sacrificing soldiers."
Boko Haram is fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria, and has stepped up its attacks after being pushed out of its bases in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, targeting towns and villages in deadly raids.

A state of emergency that was declared in three North-eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa last year has failed to curb the insurgency.

In April, Boko Haram insurgents caused global outrage by abducting more than 200 girls from a boarding school in the remote town of Chibok in Borno State.

The group has also carried out a wave of bombings and assassinations, including that of moderate Muslim leaders opposed to its ideology.

However, the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, described the report as false, adding that such calls could not have emanated from Nigerian soldiers who are well disciplined.

According to Olukolade, "That degree of cowardice is not in the character of a real soldier of the Nigerian Army."
He said the series of lies contained in the alleged responses of the faceless person referred to as a soldier confirms the whole arrangement as another step of the mischief makers working for terrorists.
"No soldier has been sent on any mission without being armed. Each soldiers answers for his action in terms of discipline.

The DDI insisted: "...Anyone who knows the military reward for mutiny will not join anyone to try it. The overwhelming majority of the Nigerian soldiers remains as brave and disciplined as ever.

"They will certainly not join any renegade, coward, deserter or those trying to incite mutiny in the military to betray the nation at a time like this, in the way that impostor told his interviewers.." His claims are false,"Olukolade said.

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