Hungry and therefore angry Nigerian soldiers fighting Boko Haram in the country’s northeast have staged a protest over lack of food and prevented the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) from boarding his helicopter to leave after he had addressed them on Friday, a report said.
Local newspaper, Daily Trust, said the GOC of 7 Division, Maiduguri, Brigadier-General Victor Eziegwu, was prevented by the angry soldiers from boarding the helicopter to leave in a remote Borno village after he had gone there to address them.
The newspaper said the soldiers who are drawn from 154 and 155 Task Force Battalions were used to dislodge Boko Haram terrorists who were occupying Alagarno, a remote Borno town and were allegedly left there without food and water.
Daily Trust quoted a source close to the angry troops as saying: “Though Alagarno has been taken over by soldiers after a fierce battle with the insurgents, the terrorists planted mines around the town and as I am talking to you now, they have blocked all routes to the village. We have no food and water and the only means to enter Alagarno is by air. No vehicle can go in and out now because of the mines and insurgents surrounding the town.
“Instead of them to use helicopters to supply us water and food as they did when mines were planted along Bama to Banki road and our soldiers were cut off in Banki, the GOC used a helicopter to come and address us over irrelevant issues and warning us unnecessarily rather than address issues bordering on our welfare.
“When he finished addressing us and was about leaving, soldiers blocked the helicopter and forced the pilot to come out of it. So many things happened in between before he was able to leave much later. I do not know if serious damage was done on the helicopter”.
The newspaper said it sent a text message sent to the Deputy Director, Army Public Relation of 7 Division, Maiduguri, Col Mustapha Anka, but he replied that he did not have details as he did not receive any official briefing on the matter.
“It is rumour I have been hearing. We are passing through so many huddles that you did not know because you are not part of us. We really need media cooperation to boost the morale of our troops. That is very essential at this time.
“This is a critical moment,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari is in Washington DC attending a nuclear security summit where he vowed that Nigeria will fight and help fight terrorism tooth and nail.
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