Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Nigerian Army has denied conducting a secret burial of the remains of over 100 soldiers allegedly killed during the Metele attacks in Borno State.
The army has also clarified that the salary accounts of soldiers of 157 Task Force Battalion, Metele, which came under heavy attacks last month when insurgents overran the military base, were not frozen by military authorities as alleged.
The military had claimed that only 39 soldiers were killed during the attacks.
The secret burial, it was alleged, was taking place in the Maimalari Military Cantonment Cemetery, Maiduguri, Borno State.
A military source told THISDAY that the accounts of soldiers attached to the battalion were frozen after the attacks.
“After the attack, the accounts of all the soldiers killed and the ones that survived were frozen. Our allowances and salary have not been paid since the attack because all the accounts were frozen, including the late soldiers and the ones that survived.
“As I am talking to you, I get my feeding money from my family back in the village,” he said.
“Since our commander was killed, we are now like orphans. Though we are told that a new commander will resume on Thursday, we are yet to see any signs,” he lamented.
On the burial of the fallen soldiers, the soldier, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said survivors of the Metele attacks, were told to be at the Maimalari Military Cantonment Cemetry on Friday for the burial.
“As I am speaking to you, we are on our way to Maiduguri for the burial of our departed colleagues,” he said.
But the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Sani Usman, yesterday denied that any such burial was taking place.
In response to a text message sent to him by our correspondent, he said it was “not true”.
Responding to the alleged freezing of accounts of soldiers, he said it was “another lie”.