Nigerian Army Debunks Troops Desertion Reports

Altogether, 12 officers, 89 soldiers were declared wanted for 'deserting' the army.

The Nigerian Army has said most of its officials who were 'missing' from the battlefield and subsequently declared wanted have returned to their various units.

The army spokesperson, Mohammed Yerima, a brigadier general, stated this in a statement on Thursday.

PREMIUM TIMES had published a full list of men of the Nigerian Army who were declared wanted. A total of 12 officers and 89 soldiers were declared wanted for 'deserting' the warfront in Borno State.

The army authorities also froze the banks accounts of the affected personnel.

Military sources told PREMIUM TIMES the soldiers absconded from duty after insurgents attacked their camps in Marte and Dikwa Local Government Areas of Borno State, leaving scores of their colleagues dead.

But according to the statement by the Army, "most of the affected persons" are now back to base.

It also said an 'internal administrative error' may have been exploited by 'subversive elements' to spread 'falsehood'.

"For the records, in the fog of war, it is a routine that head count is conducted to determine the number of men and equipment holding aftermath of military offensive," it said. "Unfortunately, an internal correspondence that was originated by the formation was not properly done. It was later discovered that a good number of those affected rejoined their respective units and are currently part of the ongoing clearance operations."

Read full statement:

TROOPS DESERTION STORY NOT TRUE

The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a publication in a section of the media alleging that over a 100 Nigerian troops were reported to have absconded after Boko Haram attacks on Marte and Dikwa. This publication is false, unfounded and an attempt to malign the image and character of the Nigerian Army.

For the records, in the fog of war, it is a routine that head count is conducted to determine the number of men and equipment holding aftermath of military offensive. Unfortunately, an internal correspondence that was originated by the formation was not properly done. It was later discovered that a good number of those affected rejoined their respective units and are currently part of the ongoing clearance operations.

Members of the general public are please advised to disregard the story as the subversive intent of the promoters are targeted at dampening the morale and fighting efficiency of our troops. We continually solicit especially the much needed public support in the fight against Boko Haram.

The Nigerian Army wishes to reassure the general public that troops are in high spirit and currently clearing areas infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists/ISWAP. It is on record that the troops fought to defend the Internally Displaced Persons Camp and United Nations Humanitarian Hub in Dikwa. It is pertinent to also note that normalcy has returned to Dikwa and its environs.

MOHAMMED YERIMA

Brigadier General

Director Army Public Relations

4 March 2021.

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