A video showing Nigerian soldiers dying of hunger and thirst after capturing a territory from Boko Haram terrorists has been released on the Internet.
Shot by some Nigerian soldiers, the 2.5 minute video, has revealed the harsh conditions troops work under while fighting a deadly terrorist organisation that has killed more than 25, 000 Nigerians, kidnapped thousands of people, including the still missing Chibok girls, and displaced millions in seven years.
The video shows some Nigerian soldiers lying on the floor exhausted by hunger and thirst.
Some soldiers are heard calling the name of President Muhammadu Buhari and begging for help. They blast the Nigerian army for maltreating them even in the war front. The Nigerian army is under the leadership of General Tukur Buratai.
“Boko Haram did not kill us,” they say, but lack of food and water is killing them. Several soldiers are heard saying that they have been without food or water for between three and four days.
The day the video was shot, at least 70 soldiers fainted, the video reveals.
The Nigerian army said in a statement that “the video clip circulating on Social Media of soldiers alleging lack of food and water was shot more than six months ago” when 29 Task Force Brigade captured Alagarno Forest and environs in Borno State.
It described those who shot the video and circulated it on the Internet as “mischievous and disgruntled elements”.
“It is disheartening that some mischievous elements have decided to circulate it now, creating the false impression that it is a recent occurrence,” read the statement by Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, the Acting Director Army Public Relations.
General Usman said the matter was “conclusively investigated at the time, several months ago”.
“The Board of Inquiry actually showed that, as at the time of the incident, the unit’s water tanker still contained water, but a soldier mischievously concealed it. That soldier was charged and punished accordingly,” he said.
He added: “In addition to the unit’s water tanker, a borehole was subsequently drilled at the location and it is still serving both the military and adjoining communities.
“We wish to restate with utmost concern the continued commitment of the Nigerian Army to the total welfare of all its personnel”.
Even with his explanation, the sight of Nigerian soldiers dying of hunger and thirst under President Buhari was likely to create the impression that the war against Boko Haram was not being given the attention it deserves.