Posted by News Express | 7 April 2014 | 6,159 times
A man claiming to be a Nigerian soldier has gone on radio to claim that some Nigerian military commanders whom he did not name are now working with the murderous Boko Haram Islamist group which has made parts of the country’s Muslim-dominated North virtually ungovernable since 2009.
Speaking in an interview aired yesterday by the VOA Hausa Service, the soldier described how his military unit, based in Borno State, was ambushed by Boko Haram fighters. He said the commander of a nearby military unit, based in the town of Bama, sought the assistance of his unit in carrying out a raid.
According to the soldier, when the two military units joined up, they were given different uniforms. He said that the Bama unit commander gave his own troops green uniforms while his unit (the soldier’s) was given tan “desert camouflage” uniforms.
The soldier alleged that when the troops reached the battle area, the commander of the better-equipped Bama unit suddenly withdrew his forces, leaving the remaining troops to fend for themselves against Boko Haram fighters.
“We had only light arms and our men were being picked off one after the other,” he lamented,
saying he recognised some of the Boko Haram fighters as his former military trainers in Kontagora, a town in Niger State, near the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
“We realised that some of them were actually mercenaries from the Nigerian army... hired to fight us,” the man said.
VOA (Voice of America) claimed to have made repeated but fruitless attempts to get reaction from the Nigerian government. But, reacting to the broadcast, Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, yesterday dismissed the soldier as an impostor but said his claims were being investigated.
His words in a statement on the issue: “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.”
•Photo shows Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade.
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