Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"We are dying like fowl" - Soldiers vow not to fight Boko Haram until they get better weapons

Some soldiers in North-Eastern Nigeria are refusing to fight Islamist Boko Haram militants until they receive better equipment.

BBC reported on Tuesday that one of the mutineers said that he and 39 others would refuse orders to deploy.

The alleged soldier spoke with the BBC just as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, warned officers and men of the Nigerian Army to desist from any form of mutiny in the face of the ongoing campaign against the Boko Haram sect.

BBC stated that a defence ministry spokesman said the incident was being investigated.

The Federal Government had declared state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states because of the attacks by the Boko Haram sect.

"Soldiers are dying like fowl," the soldier, who said he and his colleagues were just outside Maiduguri, told the BBC.

"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," he said "They [senior commanders] are sacrificing soldiers," he said.

The Defence headquarters spokesman, Gen Chris Olukolade, told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that he could not confirm the reports of a mutiny but would investigate.

He denied that soldiers were being "sent to die".

"We may not have all it takes but we are improving on it [equipment] regularly," he said.

But the Defence Headquarters, in a statement on Tuesday denied the report that troops in the North - East had taken a decision to refuse to obey directives from superior officers.

Olukolade, in an electronic mail on Tuesday, said the level of cowardice described in the report was not in the character of the Nigerian soldier.

He described the interview granted to BBC as lies by an anonymous soldier, Saying it was part of the antics of mischief-makers to promote the course of the Boko Haram sect.

He stressed that the military had not sent any soldier to the frontline without providing the necessary equipment.

Olukolade warned that mutiny remained a grave offence attracting severe punishment.

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