The Nigerian army has reportedly declared about 101 soldiers missing, following last week’s attacks by Boko Haram insurgents on Marte and Dikwa Local Government Areas of Borno State.
Daily Trust reports that a signal dated March 1, 2021, from Operation Lafiya Dole headquarters in Maiduguri sighted by it showed that the soldiers were declared as deserters.
According to the newspaper, the signal indicated that three majors, three captains, six lieutenants, three sergeants and 89 soldiers fled in the aftermath of the attacks on Marte and Dikwa.
According to the report, the signal signed by Colonel A.O. Odubiyi, on behalf of the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, partly read:
“I am directed to connect Reference A on above subject and to respectfully forward details of additional officers and soldiers who absconded from the defensive location during the BHT attack on New Marte and Dikwa.
“You are requested to declare the named officers and soldiers’ deserters WEF 19 Feb 21. You are also requested to cause HQ NAFC to freeze their accounts and apprehend/bring them under military escort to this Headquarters if seen within your AOR,” the signal read.
However, spokesperson of the Nigerian army, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, said the army will not wait for the media if it has anything to tell the public.
“If Army has anything to tell the world, shall we wait for the media to prompt us? No! Well, if we have anything to tell the world on that, we will tell the world, we won’t allow you to prompt us,” Yerima said.
Boko Haram fighters had dislodged Nigerian troops in Marte on February 14, prompting the troops to relocate to Dikwa.
The insurgents reportedly hoisted their flags at Marte area after killing seven troops of the 153rd Task Force Battalion.
Thereafter, the terrorists waged another war against the troops in Dikwa on February 19, but were repelled.
Shortly after the attempted attack, the Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru went to Dikwa and gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the troops to recapture Marte and other towns, which they did.