Troops protest in Borno over ‘obsolete weapons’

By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja

Some soldiers fighting Boko Haram in the North East, yesterday, protested alleged ‘outdated weapons’ and  posting to a  certain location in the theatre of operation.

The Nigerian Army confirmed the protest but said it was a “mild complaint” by  a few soldiers.

It said soldiers at the frontline  have a right to demand proper weapons to fight the insurgents.

But it also said  the Federal Government was making concerted efforts to deploy  new fighting equipment to augment the existing ones in the Theatre of Operation.

Reacting to reports of a protest by soldiers over posting to certain location in the theatre of operation, the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, said, “preliminary investigations by Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Farouq Yahaya, revealed that what some media reports described as a protest was a mild complaint by a few soldiers of the Mobile Strike Team (MST), deployed for Exercise Tura Takaibango in the frontline of Operations.”

He said: “Our attention has been drawn to an unsubstantiated report going round on the mainstream media that soldiers of an unidentified battalion in Operation Lafiya Dole have protested their posting to a location in the Theatre of Operation.

“The reports also claimed that the aggrieved soldiers besieged the headquarters of the Theatre Command in Borno State, shooting sporadically into the air, on Thursday, to protest over alleged unpaid operational  allowances as well as obsolete equipment.

“For the records, The  Headquarters, Theatre Command, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, wish to state that the claims were unsubstantiated and did not represent the true situation of the incidents.

“At about 3pm on 25 March, 2021, some of the troops of Mobile Strike Team 10 and 11, who were primed to conduct phase 2 of Exercise TURA TAKAIBANGO in Bama, after the first phase of the exercise, raised some concerns which were quickly addressed before they were relaunched to the second phase of the operations.

“The army wishes to also deny report that any soldier was owed any operational allowances. No soldier was owned any allowance in the Theatre.

“We shall continue to remain focused and determined to perform our constitutional roles and responsibilities professionally in the protection of the sovereignty of our nation and ensuring the safety of lives and property while we clear the terrorists, their cohorts and collaborators in the country.”



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