Posted by Emmanuel Ogebe | 14 August 2018 | 13,119 times
In the preceding month of July, Boko Haram unleashed some of its highest series of attacks in 4 years with multiple attacks in the countries of Nigeria as well as in Chad and Niger.
In Chad, 18 people were killed, several wounded and 10 abducted on a Thursday in mid-July.
In Niger, 10 Terrorists were killed also on Saturday that same week during a Boko Haram attack on a military post though no details of military casualties were given.
In Nigeria several high lethality attacks occurred and no authoritative or authentic casualties have been given either.
In Senegal several people were jailed for plotting to start a Boko Haram affiliate terror group.
In mid-July, Boko Haram also attacked a military base in Yobe state with undisclosed number of casualties.
GALLANT HEROES KILLED IN ACTION BURIED WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF CASUALTIES
Lt. Benjamin Dashe, a cousin to one of our top associates, has fallen in combat with Boko Haram terrorists.
According to a family source, “The most disturbing aspect is that Dashe was posted to Sambisa forest four months after passing out from the NDA in 2013 and was left there for 3 years and a half, against their rules of engagement that a soldier should not be at the war front for more than six months. He was redeployed to Lagos this January and posted back to Sambisa again in April whereas so many of his contemporaries have never seen the battle field.”
Lt Benjamin Dashe had just carried out his marriage introduction ceremony 3 months earlier.
Worse still, Lt. Dashe’s family were not notified of the death of their son three weeks after he was killed in action although social media was awash with the news.
Out of desperation, the family dispatched a representative to Borno to go and ascertain the true fate of their son only to confirm that indeed it was true that he had died in combat.
He issued the following:
“NOTICE TO ALL, if you have a brother, a friend or anybody serving in the Nig army in the north east, from whom you have not heard a word from in a while. Pls check on him.
People are dying, and the senior officers in the Nigerian army led by Buratai have become irresponsible and unproffessional. They don’t inform the families or the next of kins. My brother Lt L B Dashe was killed on Saturday the 14th July 2018. The Nigerian Army denied the attacks. Buratai and Femi Adesina personally denied the attacks.
“For over 3 weeks the army did not call my family. They have been burying them quietly in batches. Later you will hear a person declared missing in action. But it is a lie. He was quietly buried to cover casualty figures. I had to go to Maiduguri myself on behalf of the family last week. Belatedly yesterday they called lying that the lines provided were unreachable.
“Between 14th July and yesterday I have heard of at least 3 attacks where Nigerian Army positions were overran and dislodged by Boko Haram who came with superior weaponry, leaving heavy casualty on the side of the Nigerian Army. The latest attack where a Nigerian army position was dislodged was yesterday. A Major from 149 battalion Ojo Lagos, and several others were killed. All these you would not hear it in the press. They will deny and keep covering up
“Pls check on your loved ones.
“By Danie G. Dashe”.
The family gathered that Lt Dashe’s position was overrun by military trucks bearing the insignia of their unit but actually carrying terrorists.
Sources informed them that despite the efforts to repel the attackers, some of the munitions the soldiers used failed to explode when deployed. Lt Dashe subsequently died from multiple shots.
Our inquiry into this matter over the past few weeks revealed that the army issued a statement thus:
“The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to news making the round alleging attack on soldiers and capturing of military vehicles by Boko Haram in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.
“The Nigeria Army wishes to state that there was an attempted attack on troops at Kwakwa and Chingori communities in Bama area of Borno State by suspected Boko Haram Terrorists as a result of difficult terrain where our vehicles bugged down. The terrorists also attempted to cart away troops operational vehicles, but were successfully repelled by our gallant troops with the support of the Nigerian Air Force.
“Unfortunately, one officer and a soldier sustained injuries and are currently receiving medical attention at the military medical facility.
“Members of the public are hereby advised to disregard the report and go about their legitimate businesses as the Nigerian Army is on top of the situation.
“Director Army Public Relations”.
After this statement, the army also released another saying,
“The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a publication on the front page of Daily Trust Newspaper of Monday, 16 July 2018 titled “BOKO HARAM OVERRUN MILITARY BASE IN YOBE, SOLDIERS MISSING”. In the said story, the report stated inter alia, that “over six hundred soldiers are still missing after suspected Boko Haram militants overran a military base in Yobe state”.
“2. The Nigerian Army wishes to state categorically that the report is not only untrue but capable of misleading members of the general public.
“3. The write-up further alleged that about 100 of the troops that disappeared from the base in Jilli after the clash have reported in Geidam town but very few of them had their weapons with them.
“4. Contrary to the report, the Army wishes to state that, although the base was attacked by suspected Boko Haram insurgents, troops reorganised and successfully repelled the attack and normalcy has since returned to the area. Also, all the troops in the base were accounted for contrary to the report.
“5. Consequently, the Nigerian Army wishes to state that the fight against Boko Haram Terrorists in the North Eastern parts of the country is yielding positive result that lead to the return of some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) back to their ancestral homes.
“6. The Nigerian Army therefore advised members of the public particularly residents of the affected areas to go about their legitimate businesses and disregard the said report as the Nigerian Army will continue to protect lives and property of citizens at all times.
“7. The Nigerian Army also call on the media to always restrain caution, verify facts as well as balance their reports before rushing to the press to avoid misinforming the public on sensitive issues.
“8. Thank you.
“Director Army Public Relations”.
Neither of the press statements acknowledged the deaths of officers and men of the Nigerian army. However Lt Benjamin Dashe was one among many killed in this attack on the military base in Jilli.
It is concerning that the military denied that there trucks were captured in the first ambush. It is very possible that those captured military trucks were then utilised in the Trojan-style infiltration of the army base in Jilli.
If the truth were known, the base would have been on high alert and been suspicious of the trucks that infiltrated their position.
It is particularly disconcerting that the deaths of Lt Dashe and others who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation were not honored and acknowledged.
It is a travesty that the family had to expend their resources to go in search of the facts all the way to Borno from Plateau State where they come from.
While we are thankful that the family was represented at the burial (on Monday, August 13, 2018), the failure to ensure prompt family notification is injury upon injury for families of our gallant fallen heroes and falls below global standards.
Similarly, even Chad admitted the casualties from the Boko Haram attack.
In the US, remains of US soldiers killed in North Korea decades ago have just been returned for DNA identification and onward release to their families for burial decades after their deaths. This is how responsible nations value even the bones of those who died for their nation.
As such we are concerned about ongoing burials of military personnel without acknowledgment of casualties and family notification.
Lt. Dashe’s brother similarly posted on his Facebook page on Friday the following:
“TILL DATE NO OFFICIAL INFORMATION FROM THE ARMY.
BE INFORMED MANY OF THOSE WHO SURVIVED THE DAY MY BROTHER WAS KILLED, WERE KILLED YESTERDAY IN A FRESH BOKO HARAM ATTACK ON THE NEW LOCATION THEY WERE REDEPLOYED TO.
THE UPPER ECHELONS OF THE ARMY ARE COMPLICIT IN THE DEATHS OF OUR YOUNG OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS.
1. WHY DOES BOKO HARAM HAVE SUPERIOR WEAPONRY AND FIRE POWER THAN THE NIGERIAN ARMY?
2. WHY CAN BOKO HARAM BE ABLE TO TRAVEL KILOMETERS TO LAUNCH AN ATTACK AGAINST A MILITARY POSITION, SUSTAIN THE ATTACK FOR HOURS, UNTIL NIGERIAN TROOPS RUN OUT OF AMMUNITION OR ARE OVERWHELMED, AND CAN SAFELY DRIVE BACK KILOMETERS WITHOUT INTERCEPTION. No immediate re-enforcements no Airforce to intercept them.
3. HOW DO BOKO HARAM GET THEIR NEW OPERATIONAL VEHICLES, FUEL, ALL THEIR LOGISTISTICS?
4. CAN BOKO HARAM OUTSPEND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN PURCHASING ARMS FOR ITS PERSONEL?
5. WHEN INSURGENCY LASTS FOR MORE THAN A DAY, ABACHA SAID THE GOVT HAS A HAND IN IT.
. . . MR PRESIDENT AND BURATAI ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF MY BROTHER LT L.B DASHE AND SEVERAL OTHERS. AND GOD WILL JUDGE THEM AND ALL THEIR COLABORATORS DOWN THE CHAIN. THEY HAVE CAUSED MYSELF, MY AGED FATHER AND OUR ENTIRE FAMILY PAIN AND GRIEF....
WHEN MY BROTHER SIGNED HIS OATH, HE DID NOT SIGN THE BE FED TO BOKO HARAM. HE DID NOT SIGN TO BE SENT ON A SUCIDE MISSION.
THATS WHAT BUHARI AND BURATAI ARE DOING. SENDING OUR BROTHERS ON SUCIDE MISSIONS WITHOUT WEAPONS, JUST TO BE KILLED BY BOKO HARAM. AND BURATIA HAS THE MOUTH TO CALL THOSE WHO SURVIVED COWARDS, THAT THEY RAN AWAY.
EXCEPT GOD HAS CEASED TO BE GOD. THEY WILL SEE, if not in this life, then on the other side.”
We note the mutiny by soldiers at Maiduguri airport over unending war-front deployments and urge the military to do proper and fair rotations to ease the burden of our servicemen.
We also urge the government to properly supply the troops needs.
We urge them to be truthful about casualties, fatalities and attacks so as not to lull innocent and unsuspecting individuals into danger.
Finally we reiterate the need to cater for families of the fallen. We reported previously on a Lt Colonel killed in action in Maiduguri whose wife has not been paid the death benefits 3 and a half years after.
Our gallant soldiers and their families deserve better than what the nation they sacrificed their lives for is offering.
We urge that Lt Dashe’s fiancé be given due recognition as a widow for purposes of compensation since he conducted his traditional marriage before he died two months to the church wedding.
Lt. Dashe was 30 years old and would have turned 31 this month.
•Emmanuel Ogebe, Special Counsel, Justice for Jos Project, writes from Washigton, DC, USA.
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