Boko Haram Not Better Equipped than Us, Nigerian Army Insists

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Mansur Dan-Al
  • Defence minister arrives Maiduguri

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

The Nigerian Army wednesday denied claims that it was using inferior weapons to fight the Boko Haram terrorist group.

This is coming as the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), wednesday flew into Maiduguri, Borno State capital, on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives to assess the situation on ground and report to him following recent attacks in Borno North.

The army said it would continue to fight the insurgent group until it won despite all challenges.

“Boko Haram terrorists are not better equipped than the Nigerian Army. Nigerian Army is the pride of the nation,” the army said on its social media pages.

Several videos had surfaced in recent times showing soldiers lamenting that they were given inferior weapons to fight against Boko Haram, which had superior weapons.

In a recent video, a soldier had bemoaned, “Many of our men have died. We have to go home. If Nigeria is ready, they can call us back to fight those idiots (terrorists).

“But we do not have adequate weapons to fight them. We are going home to be with our families. Weapons make a soldier. Without weapons, you are not a soldier.”

On November 18, 2018, a faction of the Boko Haram sect, Islamic State of West Africa, had attacked the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Borno State, firing rocket-propelled grenades at soldiers and reportedly killing more than 100 soldiers and injuring 31.

Some of the soldiers who survived the incident had claimed the weapons used by the terrorists were more sophisticated than theirs.

But the army wednesday described as untrue claims that its men were given inferior weapons to fight against terrorists.

It stated, “Fake news, false publication, hate speech and terrorist propaganda cannot deter our resolve from protecting our nation. No retreat, no surrender. Victory is sure.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), yesterday flew into Maiduguri, Borno State capital, on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives to assess the situation on ground and report to him following recent attacks in Borno North.

Dan-Ali confirmed this to journalists after he held a two-hour crucial closed door meeting with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Tukur Buratai, at the Military Command and Control Centre.

Also in attendance were the Chief of Training and Operations, Maj.Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, Principal Staff Officers at the Army Headquarters and Theatre Commander, Operation Lafia Dole, Maj. Gen. Benson Akinroluyo.

The senior officers in charge of the Air Force and Navy components of the operations, as well as some field commanders attended the meeting.

Dan-Ali said: “I am here on the instruction of Mr. President, to come and see the happenings in the Theatre Command of the Operation Lafia Dole”.

I have been briefed by the Commander and the Chief of Army Staff.

“I am here to know what is expected, what the president should do to make things work and I have been briefed.

“So, I will take home all the briefings by each and every of the commanders here,’’ but declined to give further details.

Dan-Ali left for the Republic of Chad after the meeting.

He is expected to hold a meeting with his Chadian counterpart in view of recent attacks by the Boko Haram terrorists on areas bordering Chad and Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the Boko Haram terrorists attacked troops’ locations at Baga and Mongonu, all Borno north between December 26 and December 28 but were repelled.

NAN also reported that the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and Chief of Naval Rear Admiral Ibot-Ette Ibas had paid operational visit to the theatre to assess the security situation.