Kashim dispels rumour on recapture of Borno by Boko Haram
From Bodunrin Kayode, Maiduguri
Governor Kashim Shettima has dispelled rumours that Boko Haram insurgents have recaptured certain council areas of Borno state giving the impression that the military is on a retrogressive fighting spree inside the war theatre.
The governor advised arm chair speculators to stop misinterpreting what is happening inside the Borno war theatre when they cannot come down for themselves to see what is happening up to the international boundaries in Gamboru Gala.
Shettima who over the weekend received two hundred and seventy five former Boko Haram suspects detained and later released from military gulags after thorough screening to prove their innocence said that Nigerians should trust the judgement of the political authorities as it is only people like him living inside Borno that are availed with the real details of happenings in the north eastern war theatre in Nigeria.
According to him, ” most of those who sit down in Lagos or Abuja speculating about what is happening in Borno or any part of the theatre should beware of the fact that they are killing the spirit of our soldiers sacrificing their lives for us.
“What I feel they should be doing now is empathising with our soldiers so that they will continue to fight insurgency for the enthronement of an enduring peace in the north region.
” I dont think this is the time to discourage these gallant soldiers with negative comments rather the whole country should combine and get behind them in solidarity against this lingering madness which will come to an end soon isha allah.”
Further dispelling rumours about boko haram retaking some parts of Borno, the Governor observed that the theatre is much better now than seven years ago when twenty council areas were taken adding that the insurgents have really been decimated in the true sense of the word.
ALSO SEE: Army debunks take over of Lafia Dole by defence headquarters
Handing the cleared indigenes of various council areas to the civil authorities in the state, theatre commander Major General Hassan Umoru said that twenty two under aged kids were among those released.
Out of the number, Umoru said that one hundred and fourty two of them are males while fourty nine are females with fifty kids among the two hundred and seventy five persons released.
The theatre commander noted that eight of them with clear cut criminal cases have been handed over to the Nigerian police while four foreigners two from Niger and Cameroon each will be repartrated to their respective countries.
He said that no Nigerian will be unjustly punished for crimes they did not commit because the military is an organisation noted for its respect for the rights of everybody.
This is however quite different from the details released by some soldiers who up till now feel they were unjustly sacked out of the theatre last year when at least six hundred and seventy soldiers were killed due to tactical mistakes of some commanders.
In one instance, at least a hundred and seven soldiers were said to have been missing in Damasak for tactical mistakes of their commander believed to have wrongly led them into the lions den for the kill.
Some of the soldiers who spoke unanimously alleged that they expected that erring commander to have been punished for not taking the right decisions but it was the former theatre commander that was transfered out of the fighting zone after defending the erring commander.
“To cap it up boko Haram have sent letter to even baga that they are coming and we hope that with the new theatre commander, such threats will not be taken for granted like they used to before the new management team took over.
“Whike at Damasak, we came under attack several times making things difficult for us to perceive even the location of our commander which is why lots of our men were killed and some of them indeed abandoned the battle half way through the bush leaving just about two hundred soldiers after fourty seven of them were dismissed to their villages.
“Sadly, that commander has been promoted and is still there in the theatre while some of our colleagues are trying to come back by all means possible” said another military source who was among those who survived with a fatal wound while the driver of his vehicle died on the spot while he crawled under the vehicle and fought for his life.
Meanwhile many soldiers were seen smiling into several banks along baga road maiduguri over the weekend carting away their field allowances which had been delayed for as long as three months in some cases.
Some of the soldiers have held the feeling that they have been totally neglected by their military and civil authorities when their allowances some for transfer purposes were delayed after serving in the theatre for almost three years.
Army spokesman col Sani Usman however reacting to the recent infiltration of the military check point at an idp camp in Dikkwa council head quarters said they were unhappy about the fact that there are fifth columnist among them and that they will do all they can to fish them out and get them punnished.
According to him: “It has come to the knowledge of the Nigerian Army that while concerted efforts are being made to finally clear all remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in the North East in particular and the country generally, some unscrupulous elements in the society have been thwarting that effort for pecuniary gains.
“They engage in all manners of illegal commercial activities such as trading and smuggling especially during late hours, all aimed at sustaining terrorism and insurgency. This is more prevalent in some towns and villages within the North East especially in Borno and Yobe States.
“The unpatriotic and selfish elements have clandestinely been aiding the terrorists with logistics and other supplies, through smuggling and other forms of illicit trading, thus sustaining them, while the merchants of death make money out of it.
“Consequently, the Nigerian Army is highly concerned with these unpatriotic acts. The Nigerian Army is therefore taking some drastic steps to curtail this illicit trading with the terrorists. From now on, some markets identified to be engaging in this illegal trade with their adversary in Borno and Yobe States will be closed.
“Any breach of that would be dealt with accordingly. The General Officers Commanding and other commanders have been directed accordingly.”
ALSO SEE: Soldiers angry over three months field allowance arrears
In a recent release, Col Sani alleged that two of the army’s Explosive Ordinance Device personnel attached to 143 Battalion, 13NA/ 70/10183 Eric Nwokorie and 13NA/70/10263 Macauley Fortune were arrested at Yola park with the following unauthorised military items: “1 Smoke grenade, 2,136 live rounds of 7.62 (Special) ammunition, 50 live rounds of 7.6mm (NATO) ammunition, 5 magazines of AK 47 rifles, 2 Browning Machine Gun live rounds of ammunitions. Others include, 1 Axe, 1 Cutlass, 1 Jack knife, 9 Jungle hats, 11 pairs of Camouflage (9 Desert and 3 woodland green), 4 Military Pullovers, 1 Black beret, 1 Green beret, 1 Pair of number 7 dress, 2 General Duty belt, 12 Army T-shirts, 2 Rain Coats, 2 Water bottles, 1 Pairs of Rain boot and 5 Pairs of Desert boots.”
The attention of the Nigerian Army has also been drawn to a set of 250 protesting dismissed soldiers in Nigerian Union of journalists (NUJ) Secretariat, Kaduna pleading through the media to be reabsorbed back again into the Nigerian Army.
The protesting soldiers were those soldiers dismissed last week by the Nigerian Army over gross acts of indiscipline, cowardice and absence without leave. They were part of the 2,023 dismissed soldiers last year that were earlier reinstated back into the Service by the present Chief of Army Staff. However these set of soldiers (the 205) absconded for more than one week when they were told that they were to move to North East on the 6th of January 2016. They started coming back when they realised that others were moved to units other than the theatre of operations in the North East.
“The protesting soldiers are the few who are recalcitrant to military duties and discipline. They are simply not interested in army job but want to earn salary. No one should listen to them as they are not patriotic at all.” Said Sani
“Efforts have been made to retrain them, integrate and give them sense of belonging. However the attitude of some of them has left so much to be desired and would not be tolerated anymore hence their dismissal from Service. The Nigerian Army thrives on discipline, loyalty and good conduct and if anyone could not measure up to expectation or live by those tenets, he would not be allowed to remain in the system.”