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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Nigerian Soldiers MUTINY In Maiduguri - Borno State

Director of Defense Information, Major General Chris Olukolade
Angry soldiers opened fire on the car of the General Officer Commanding the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri yesterday, in protest over the circumstances that led to the death of their colleagues.

Major-General Ahmed Mohammed escaped unhurt, as soldiers shot at his car as he was entering the Maimalari Cantonment, sources in the barracks said.

Here is how Daily Trust Reported: 
"The soldiers were angry over the killing of 12 colleagues in an ambush by insurgents while on their way back from the northern part of Borno State.
They blame lack of adequate fighting equipment for the deaths.
Sources within the barracks said a bullet fired by one of the protesting soldiers hit the sports-utility vehicle of the GOC and pierced the passenger’s side but the general was not hit.
People living close to the barracks said they heard sound of gunfire from there and thought it was an attack on the cantonment.
“I thought there was an attack in the barracks by insurgents. It was later that I learnt the problem was within the barracks,” a fuel hawker at the nearby Shagari Low Cost housing estate said.
Daily Trust learnt that the shooting followed the killing of 12 soldiers while on their way to Maiduguri from Kala-Balge Local Government Area, which is along the shores of the Lake Chad.
Apart from the 12 who were killed, other soldiers were also wounded in the ambush, sources said.
The soldiers were asked to return to Maiduguri from their duty post up north, and they were driving through the Gamboru-Ngala-Dikwa-Mafa-Maiduguri road when they were ambushed.
When the corpses were taken to the Maimalari barracks in Maiduguri early yesterday, there was tension among the rank and file, who began firing into the air as a mark of protest.
When General Mohammed drove into the barracks, the tensed up situation got worse.
“The GOC was on his way to the arms store in the barracks when he was attacked by angry soldiers,” an officer, who does not want to be named, said.
Another officer said, “The 101 Battalion has severally complained that they lack kits including fragmented jacket. They repeatedly complained that they don’t have support weapons, they don’t have helmets, boots and basic things for survival like water.
“They were asked to withdraw and while coming back, they were attacked. 12 soldiers died instantly and others escaped with life-threatening injuries, which suggests someone leaked the information of their withdrawal.”

Our correspondent learnt from credible sources that hundreds of soldiers under the 7 Division are angry over their inferior fire power compared to Boko Haram, as well as over delayed allowances.

“We are being killed like chickens everyday while many of our colleagues have lost limbs, they are permanently incapacitated,” one soldier said. 
“It is not that we don’t know how to fight but we don’t have the equipment to fight. We always run for our lives whenever the terrorists come because they have superior weapons, it is difficult to confront them.”
Another one said, “Go to the clinic in Maimalari barracks and see our victims being treated…it is sad. Many of our colleagues are at UMTH (University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital) and other hospitals. We need equipment to fight.”
Some soldiers also complained that they have not received their allowances for over two weeks.
“As I am talking to you, we did not collect our allowances for the past 15 days and this is unfortunate,” he said.
“We left our families in far-flung places and we are being frustrated here. Quote me anywhere, many of our colleagues have dropped their uniforms and left the army because of frustration. No equipment to fight and we are always asked to go to the bush to face enemies,” he added.
But military authorities have consistently denied that insurgents are better-armed than troops, and said soldiers receive their entitlements as due.
A top security officer in Maiduguri, who confirmed the barracks incident, said, “I think the GOC was just a victim of circumstances. I also feel that the ambush was not premeditated because soldiers can move at any time and in any circumstances.”

In its account of the incident, the Defence Headquarters in Abuja said soldiers fired shots while the GOC was addressing troops at the Maimalari cantonment.

In a statement, Director of Defence Information Major-General Chris Olukolade said also that the incident happened following the death of four soldiers on their way back from Chibok, where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped nearly a month ago.
The statement said, “The 7 Division of the Nigerian Army is to institute a military board of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the conduct of soldiers who fired some shots today while the General Officer Commanding was addressing troops in Maimalari cantonment Maiduguri. 
“The incident occurred when the corpses of 4 soldiers who died in an ambush while returning from patrol duties in Chibok was being conveyed to the morgue.
“There is calm in the cantonment and all normal operations activities are ongoing.”
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