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Military Commanders Undermining The Fight Against B’Haram, Soldiers Now Deserting Army, Soldier Alleges

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MilitaryA soldier has claimed that he witnessed incidents that suggested some of his superiors in the military were working with Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East.

The alleged soldier told the Voice of America Hausa Service how his military unit in Borno State was ambushed by insurgents during an operation.

According to him, the commander of a nearby military unit in Bama recently sought assistance from his unit in carrying out a raid.

The unidentified soldier said when the two military units joined up, they were given different uniforms. The Bama unit commander, he added, assigned the traditional green uniforms to his own troops, while his own unit received tan “desert camouflage” uniforms.

When the troops reached the battle front, the soldier alleged that the commander of the better-equipped Bama unit suddenly withdrew his troops, leaving the other unit, where the soldier belongs, to protect themselves against Boko Haram fighters.

The soldier, who spoke in Hausa, said: “We had only light arms and our men were being picked off one after the other”.

The soldier also said he identified some of the Boko Haram fighters as his former military trainers in Kontagora, Niger State.

“We realised that some of them were actually mercenaries from the Nigerian army… hired to fight us”, he alleged.

The soldier also claimed that many of his colleagues were deserting the army because of their frustrations with what he termed the politicisation of the fight against the insurgents.

He said, “I swear by Allah, there are soldiers who are coming out of the forest after they were abandoned; several of them dropped their weapons and just went home.

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“There were more than 20 of them from this battalion in Kwanduga. Even me that is talking to you now, I am preparing to leave. I just want to tell the world so that they will know what is happening. These people are doing this secretly”.

He also claimed that there was a deliberate attempt to further impoverish the North ahead of the 2015 general elections.

The soldier also dismissed claims that there were up to 10,000 troops stationed in Maiduguri.

The soldier added,   “I swear, even now, there are boys in the forest where we are coming out from.

“They (Army) keep saying they are sending soldiers, it’s a lie. They claim that there are 10,000 soldiers in Maiduguri but it is a lie. If we have 10,000 soldiers, Boko Haram would have ended.  How many members does Boko Haram have?”

Reacting to the soldier’s claim, the Defence spokesperson, Maj.-Gen Chris Olukolade, said impersonation could not be ruled out to create wrong impressions for the public.

Gen. Olukolade said: “Ordinarily, the Nigerian soldier is too disciplined to be involved in that kind of utterances on radio.

“Let no terrorist propagandists hide under the guise of not wanting to disclose their source to present impostors as representing Nigerian soldiers.

“We do not agree that he is our soldier; we believe very strongly that he is not our soldier. We are still studying the interview to confirm the motive.

“At the moment, we suspect that the intention is to create wrong impressions and cause disaffection.

“A case of impersonation cannot also be ruled out. We are taking the information seriously despite the fallacies contained in it. We do not believe he is one of our soldiers”.