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Published On: Tue, Aug 26th, 2014

Strayed soldiers return ‘in high spirits’–Defence HQ

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Nigerian ArmyBy Joy Baba & Umar Dankano, Yola

he Defence Headquarters has confirmed that troops who returned from Cameroon were yesterday addressed by the General Officer Commanding 3 Division, Major General Zaruwa as they embark on another mission in the Counter Terrorism campaign.

According to press statement issued yesterday by the Defence Headquarters, “All the soldiers are in high spirit with all their weapons and equipment intact”.

Meanwhile, some of the Nigerian soldiers that took refuge in the neighbouring Cameroon Republic, following the fierce fighting with Boko Haram militants in some areas of Borno and Adamawa states have resurfaced in Adamawa state.

Reports from the commercial border town of Mubi in the state revealed that the residents saw the returning soldiers in the wee hours, as most of the soldiers were in torn uniforms wearing gloomy faces.

However, the residents say they could not ascertain whether they are among the 500 soldiers that fled to Cameroun or not, though most of the troops participated in Gwoza operation and were drawn from the special unit battalion based in Mubi.

A resident, Joseph Baba said that,’’ We saw some of them purchasing second hand clothes at the Mubi main market and are in torn uniforms.’’

“Initially, we are afraid; people are panicked when we sighted the troops. They arrived in the wee hours and people begun to scamper for safety, because no one knows their mission; I even thought they are Boko Haram disguised in military uniform, as they used to do,’’ said Baba.

It could be recalled that, faced by the lack of arms, ammunitions and other military hardware to battle the Boko Haram insurgents, whose fire power they cannot match, at least 500 soldiers in the Nigerian army were reported to have fled to the neighboring Cameroun.

The soldiers’ desertion came barely one day after leader of the Boko Haram sect Abubakar Shekau declared the town of Gwoza in Borno State, which it captured few weeks ago, an Islamic Caliphate.

In a video released at the weekend, which also showed scenes of Nigerian soldiers running for safety and arms recovered from Nigerian soldiers, the sect’s leader congratulated his fighters for seizing the town of Gwoza earlier this month.

The Defence Headquarters on Monday said the presence of Nigerian soldiers in Cameroonian territory is a tactical maneuver from the sustained battle it had with the Boko Haram insurgents group.


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