- Says Army injecting new weapons
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, friday warned troops fighting insurgents in the North-east to shun acts of cowardice of face court-martial.
Buratai gave the warning in a goodwill message to troops in the frontline in the North-East, released in Abuja friday. The army chief issued the warning as he disclosed that the recent large consignment of ammunition procured by the army was being “injected” into the theatre of war.
“The Nigerian Army is not known for cowardly behaviour. We have contained several incursions and several security challenges bedeviling our dear country within the last three years and now would not be an exception.
“Consequently, any soldier that turns away in the face of enemy incursion would be appropriately sanctioned and made to face field court martial in accordance with our extant laws.
“As you are all aware; the consequences could be grave. Do not be complacent by being contented with repelling their attacks, instead, go after them, capture them, and when absolutely necessary, be decisive with the daring ones.
“Some women and children have been held captive, you are therefore to ensure that adequate rules of engagement are employed to extricate them before any offensive action”, he warned.
Buratai said the army had begun to inject high caliber ammunition into the war and noted that as army chief he was committed to the welfare of troops.
“As your Chief of Army Staff, (COAS), I have never relented in my pursuits of ensuring that your welfare is adequately catered for. To this end, I have directed that your allowances are paid regularly as and when due. I have also directed that troops’ rotation be carried out as scheduled.
“As soldiers in battle, I am aware of the effects of battle fatigue. Consequently, I have also directed that passes be issued to officers and soldiers that require same to visit their families. Recall that I approved the special promotion of more than 5000 troops for gallantry. Be rest assured that the process is continuous. Your kitting has also been improved drastically. Special uniform allowance was paid a month ago directly into your individual accounts.
“Through the various intervention programmes to the NA by the government, the stock of arms and ammunition has greatly improved. Just recently, the NA took delivery of large consignment of high caliber weapons and ammunition.
“These are already being injected into the theatre. I therefore urge you to make use of them judiciously and ensure they are effectively used against the terrorists and not taken away by them”, he said.
Buratai said that the terrorists “in a bid to swell their depleting ranks, had continued with their false teachings and instilling fake ideologies on the youths of the North East.” He added: “To curb that, I have directed the Department of Civil Military Affairs in collaboration with the Department of NA Chaplain/Imam Services to immediately provide counter narratives through the community resilience and stabilization campaign programme.
“I have also established the Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command to amongst others prevent online terrorism, online radicalisation as well as online recruitment. To this end, do not let the false propaganda and narratives being spread by the rag-tagged terrorists sway your thoughts and actions about our dear country. We should continue to stand and fight even when the going gets tough and the ignorant and enemies of the state choose to castigate us.
“You are to also note that many people have returned to their towns, villages and communities that were hitherto abandoned, and the terrorists have taken advantage of the large population in the towns and villages to infiltrate into them. You must therefore be extra vigilant and establish good civil military relations with the locals. You are to use this to acquire actionable intelligence to prevent any attack on the communities as well as your positions”.