© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Jilli attack: Nigerians ask questions as pictures of slain soldiers flood social media
IT’S been one week since Boko Haram fighters attacked a military base in Jilli, Geidam local Government Area of Yobe State, North East Nigeria, killing several soldiers, while many were said to be missing.
Same day, Saturday 14 July, 2018, the insurgents ambushed a military convoy in Boboshe village in Bama local government area of Borno State.
Though the Nigerian Army authorities denied the reports, saying that only one soldier and one officer were injured in the attack,and that they were receiving adequate treatment, The ICIR reported that 62 soldiers lost their lives in the attack, and several others were yet to be accounted for.
“When Boko Haram opened fire on the troops, they tried to fight back but were overpowered. Boko Haram fighters arrived with many anti-aircraft guns while the soldiers were limited to AK-47 riffles. The only support weapons readily available were machine guns but these are very old and not too reliable. It intermittently stops when being fired and this is not good in a battlefield,” a credible military source told The ICIR.
The Nigerian Army wishes to state categorically that the report is not only untrue but misleading as the said report is blown out of proportion by the media.
— Nigerian Army (@HQNigerianArmy) July 16, 2018
Despite the denial by the army, family members and friends of soldiers who lost their lives in the attack started uploading their pictures on the social media, as proof that the attack actually took place. Many of such post condemned the Nigerian government for their lack of sincerity and empathy.
One of the tweets read: “There’s no greater insult to the Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram than the denial by the Military that they were killed. This is Politics taken too far. You dishonour them by denying they paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and weaken the morale of those alive.”
Read other reactions on twitter below:
You were a friend, brother, former classmate, a very lively fellow, a peacemaker, a brilliant, neat and go to guy and ultimately a gallant soldier. @A_Salkida R.I.P Lance Corporal Emmanuel Erasmus Okoi a. k. a Shimirano, FGC Ikot Ekpene 2007 Set mourns pic.twitter.com/kBzourHTe6
— Godswill Ejelonu (@GodswillEjelonu) July 19, 2018
R.I.P Lance Corporal Emmanuel Erasmus Okoi a. k. a Shimirano, FGC Ikot Ekpene 2007 Set mourns
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/onfDvFCusU
— Florence Ozor™ (@FlorenceOzor) July 21, 2018
Lt. Lirfa Benjamin Dashe, one of the soldiers abushed by BH.
He paid the Supreme price in the defense of our country.
We are eternally grateful to you and all fallen heroes.
He was a class mate from UniJos, a gentleman to the core.
Good night bro. @A_Salkida @ogundamisi pic.twitter.com/YMZozygDlP
— Ugbabe Justice (@elugzy) July 18, 2018
I have evidence MY very own Sweetheart Lt Dashe is gone, my tears can’t stop flowing and body is talking about there dead some are saying is not true…. pic.twitter.com/CzsBt3m6pp
— Zion Kalla (@Zionkallagmail1) July 19, 2018
Just received the sad news that one of my university friends, Captain Felix George was among the soldiers killed in the recent Boko Haram ambush in Borno.
Rest well, Okadigbo!
This country has a penchant of taking the best from us. Gosh!
— Nicholas Ibekwe (@nicholasibekwe) July 19, 2018
There’s no grater insult to the Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram than the denial by the Military that they were killed.
This is Politics taken too far.
You dishonour them by denying they paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and weaken the morale of those alive.
— Uchenna (@Demoore90210) July 17, 2018
On Saturday, Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education and co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group, weighed in on the matter, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to order the army to quit their denials and to explain to Nigerians what actually happened.
“I am calling on President Buhari who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to please ask the Nigerian Army to provide the facts on what happened to the Nigerian Soldiers alleged dead and whose pictures are all over the social media,” Ezekwesili wrote on Twitter.
“Fighting at the frontlines of battles for one’s country is the most patriotic act known throughout history. It should not be different in our country.”
Fighting at the frontlines of battles for one’s country is the most patriotic act known throughout history. It should not be different in our country. Pls .@MBuhari let’s resolve the contradictions between what .@HQNigerianArmy said & what those pictures floating online depict.
— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) July 21, 2018
The Buhari administration has consistently maintained that the Boko Haram insurgency has been “technically defeated” even though the group continues to carry out attacks and suicide bombings.