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Update: Nigerian Soldiers Desert Battlefield, Flee To Cameroon
The Nigerian military has denied reports that its soldiers absconded into Cameroon after fleeing a fierce battle with Boko Haram insurgents in Gamboru Ngala in Borno State.
Nigerian soldiers were said to have escaped from the battlefield and slipped into Cameroon and the neighbouring country’s Army confirmed that they had the soldiers in custody
The icirnigeria.org also published the report on Monday titled Nigerian Soldiers Desert Battlefield, Flee To Cameroon
However, the Defence Headquarter in a statement on its website on Monday said that “the Nigerian troops that were found in Cameroun was as a result of a sustained battle between the troops and the terrorists around the borders with Cameroun which saw the Nigerian troops charging through the borders in a tactical maneuver.”
The statement said that the soldiers “found themselves on Camerounian soil” and that being allies “the normal protocol of managing such incident demanded that the troops submit their weapons in order to assure the friendly country that they were not on a hostile mission.”
“Following necessary discussions between Nigerian and Camerounian military authorities, the issues have been sorted out. Subsequently, the troops are on their way back to join their unit in Nigeria,” the military said further.
It also maintained that the soldiers did not defect, adding that communications with the said soldiers indicated that they were safe.
The statement also claimed that Nigerian troops “are repelling a group of terrorists who are trying to enter the country through Gamborou Ngala”, adding that a “group of them who fizzled into the town are being pursued.”
Although it claimed that the insurgents were repelled, the military in the statement also said that the attack by the terrorists forced residents to flee.
“The Boko Haram insurgents on Monday morning invaded Gamboru, a Nigerian border town with Cameroon forcing the residents to flee into the Central African Republic,” it said.
Also, while claiming that Nigerian soldiers were initially forced into “temporary retreat into Cameroon” and that “they later emerged with the support of the Cameroonian soldiers to engaged the insurgents’, the military indicated that all the information it subsequently got were from fleeing residents, indicating that there were no soldiers on ground.
“It was gathered from some fleeing residents of the town that the insurgents attacked the town at 5:15 am as gunshots were heard all over. One of the resident who called on a foreign mobile number from Cameroon, said the insurgents went straight to attack military base and police station in the town”, the statement read.