By John Alechenu, Fidelis Soriwei And Godwin Isenyo
A soldier has claimed that he witnessed incidents that suggested some military chiefs work with Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East, Punch Newspaper has reported
The soldier told the Voice of America Hausa Service how his military unit in Borno State was ambushed by Boko Haram members.
He said the commander of a nearby military unit in Bama recently sought assistance from his unit in carrying out a raid.
The soldier, who did not give his name, said when the two military units joined up, they were given different uniforms. The Bama unit commander, according to him, gave his own troops green uniforms while his unit received tan “desert camouflage” uniforms.
When the troops reached the battle area, the soldier said the commander of the better-equipped Bama unit suddenly withdrew his forces, leaving the remaining troops to fend for themselves against Boko Haram fighters.
Speaking in Hausa, he said, “We had only light arms and our men were being picked off one after the other.”
The soldier also said he recognised some of the Boko Haram fighters as his former military trainers in Kontagora, a town near Abuja.
“We realised that some of them were actually mercenaries from the Nigerian army… hired to fight us,” he said.
The soldier also claimed that many of his colleagues were deserting the army because of their frustrations with what he said was the politicisation of the fight against the militants.
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.
“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 preparatory to the 2015 general elections.
•10,000 soldiers not in Maiduguri
The soldier dismissed claims that there were up to 10,000 troops 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?”
When one of our correspondents contacted the Director of Defence Information, Maj.Gen Chris Olukolade, he said he did not believe that the person who granted the interview to VOA was a soldier of the Nigerian Army.
He said that the person claiming to be a soldier could be an insurgent trying to create a false impression to promote the activities of Boko Haram.
The defence spokesman said, “The person that granted that interview on the VOA; we believe he is not a soldier, he could just be one of those simulated on the other side to give some false impression to support the insurgents.”
•Soldier fighting for B’Haram killed
But the soldier’s claim seemed to have been corroborated as a lance corporal has been killed by the Special Forces during an encounter with insurgents in Borno State.
It was learnt on Sunday that the military high command was investigating soldiers suspected to be involved in conducts that could compromise national security.
The lance corporal was said to have been killed while assisting in the training of Boko Haram fighters.
Investigations revealed that the soldier was ‘competent’ and trusted enough to be a trainer of Special Forces at the Nigerian Army Training Centre, Kontagora.
It was learnt that one of the soldiers who took part in the operation recognised the body of the lance corporal who dressed in military camouflage.
The soldier was said to have called the attention of his commander to his discovery that one of the corpses was that of a soldier well known to him as a trainer of special forces in Kotangora.
It was learnt that the commander ordered a search on the body of the lance corporal and a current pass permitting him to leave his location at the training centre in Kontagora was found on him.
A security source said, “A soldier who trains Special Forces at the Nigerian Army Training Centre in Kontagora, Niger State, was among those who were killed.
“The man was not among the Special Forces; he was obviously leading the attack for the insurgents but he got killed.
“It was one of the soldiers that identified him as somebody from his unit in Kotangora.
“The soldier called attention to the man’s corpse and when the commander said he should be searched, they recovered a current pass authorising him to leave Kotangora and his Army identity card from him.”
However, Olukolade said that he would not want to comment on the killing of the lance corporal.
He stated that the military had zero tolerance for people fighting on the side of the insurgents.
Voice of America Hausa Service
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