Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj Gen Abubakar Yusha’u yesterday said there was no report of soldiers missing in combat.
Gen Yusha’u told newsmen in Maiduguri yesterday that the army was yet to receive any report about missing troops.
“We captured and held Gudumbali. Of a truth we were attacked by Boko Haram but we repelled the attack. We don’t have any report of missing soldiers so far. As far as we’re concerned, the operation is still ongoing. In fact, I spoke with the OC (Officer in Charge) this afternoon and all I can tell you is that our troops are holding the ground. We will let you know if there is any development,” he said.
Also, Yusha’u disclosed that Boko Haram men have resorted to sending their wives and children to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri, Borno State due to sustained military onslaught on them in their hideouts in the bushes.
Over 100 troops were reported missing during a fierce battle with Boko Haram on Wednesday at Gudumbali, Guzamala Local Government, some 260 kilometres north of Maiduguri.
The commander also said desperate Boko Haram men now push their families to the IDPs camps in Maiduguri and subsequently attempt to enter the city through various means. He said some of them have been arrested while attempting to enter the capital. He said the insurgents’ logistics including food supplies and fuel have been degraded, forcing them to send their families to the city. He assured that the military in collaboration with other security agencies was taking precaution to ensure the insurgents do not create more harm at the IDPs camps.
He revealed that the mastermind of ambush on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai mid September has been arrested in Matari village in Yobe State. He said another Boko Haram suspect, John Trankil arrested on November 14 at Kasuwar Shanu in Maiduguri by the troops of the Garrison Command, is a Chadian.
…Soldiers jubilate as minister pledges prompt salary payment
From Molly Kilete, Abuja
There is jubilation in the Nigerian Army following the promise by the Defence Minister, Brigadier-General Ali (retd), to ensure prompt payment of allowances of soldiers on internal security operations.
The minister has also promised to ensure regular rotation of troops especially those on counter terrorism operations in the North East to boost soldiers’ welfare and achieve the objectives.
Gen. Ali, who spoke shortly after taking over office, said as Defence minister, he would not tolerate the situation where troops are denied their legitimate allowances and made to spend more than one year on a location while on operation.
He said denying the troops their allowances or paying them three months allowance when they are being owed for six months and leaving them on a particular location for three years would only deflate their morale and affect their efficacy in achieving the real purpose they were sent there in the first place.
The minister, who expressed disappointment with the Army authorities for failing to rotate its troops who have spent over three years on a particular location for internal security operations wondered how they would feel if they were separated from their family members for more than one year.
He, therefore, urged the army authorities to do the right thing since soldiers are also human beings like them.
While noting that the Buhari administration has vowed to wipe out terrorism from the country, the minister said he would focus on troops welfare and rotation.