The Nigerian Army has confirmed that its troops were attacked by Boko Haram insurgents, but the veracity of a propaganda video by the insurgents and one allegedly shot by angry soldiers deserting the battlefield remained fuzzy.
Meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep shock over the killing of soldiers in Metele village of Borno State by insurgents, according to his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu.
“Reacting to the tragic incident, the President said that his administration remains ever committed and focused on the security of military personnel and other citizens.
“According to President Buhari, “No responsible Commander-in-Chief would rest on his oars or fold his hands to allow terrorists to endanger the lives of its military personnel and other citizens. Our loyal forces have proved their strength over the terrorists and we are ready to give them all the needed support in terms of equipment and manpower to succeed in ending the renewed threat. In the coming days, I am engaging the Military and Intelligence Chiefs in extensive discussions on the next steps we shall be taking.”
“The President noted that fighting terrorism has taken a global dimension, which necessitates international collaboration among states facing similar security challenges.
“President Buhari reassured Nigerians of his continued commitment to their security and of his efforts to sustain the momentum in the previous significant successes recorded against the terrorists’ Shehu said.
Earlier before the presidential reaction on Saturday night, the Army itself, speaking nearly a week after the humiliating attack said: “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.”
In the video shot by the soldiers, a voice-per commentator stated: “See what the Nigerian Army has been doing to us, they brought us here. See how they killed our fellow soldiers, they burn them inside the tanks”, a narrator in the video said.
“They are using us to make money; why? Are we not human beings? They can kill soldiers inside a tank; if Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) can penetrate M-RAG vehicle, what of a fellow human being?
“This is the location called ‘Metele’, This is a place they (the insurgents) took over 40 barrel and these people want to use us, and within one week they killed over 200 soldiers and we are now 147, they want to waste us here. It is a lie, our blood is not here.
“This is a Third World vehicle, a tank manufactured in 1972; and Albarnawi broke all of it.They want to use us and we are not getting anything from them.We want to tell the government of our condition.
“Please; the Federal Government should intervene before the insurgents come and kill us. They mocked us and said we are Zombies; animals, we do not know our rights, any order given to us we will follow.
“We are millennium soldiers, most of us are graduates.
“Look at what they did to this T12 tank; it is obsolete. It was a 1983 Czechoslovakian tank procured during Shagari’s regime. Is this the money the Federal Government provided to procure weapons?
“All the equipment are not working. When it fired two shots it stopped. All the weapons are obsolete and bought during Shagari(1979-1983).
“We know about the money the Federal Government gave to them but the Nigerian Army had turned us into a business”.
“All the money federal government gave them to buy weapons… Nigerian Army is buying INNOSON…. All these are obsolete… Oyinbo came here and said they are obsolete. All these weapons were bought during the Shagari regime in 1983… They have turned us to business…. Federal Government you will hear about it….
“All these weapons are not genuine…if you fire two times you have stoppages. This is 1983 when Shagari was head of state… Federal Government give them money, they go and buy INNOSON, Nigerian made… Federal Government please help us. Help us.”