A Nigerian soldier on Thursday painted a gloomy picture of the military’s fight against Boko Haram. The soldier who was interviewed by the CNN, said they had all along been underequipped, adding that they buy their own uniforms instead of being provided for by the government and country they serve.
He said most of them kept fighting the insurgents because they must obey orders, revealing also that Boko Haram has more weapons and ammunition than the military.
“I bought my own uniform; it is very scary and difficult to fight Boko Haram. They have better weapons,” he added.
When asked why he has continued to remain in the army despite government’s neglect, he said: “I don’t have choice; it is a call to service.”
In the meantime, the Nigeria military has said the casualty figure in the Boko Haram killings in Baga remains controversial. While featuring on CNN’s Amanpour live on Thursday, the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, stated that the Nigerian military acknowledged the fact that many people were killed but that the 2,000 figure given by Amnesty International cannot be proved with any evidence.
“We know that in the process of the attack, a large number of people died. Terrorists themselves died in that attack. A lot of people died in that attack. But the casualty figure remains controversial because no one has come with credible number enough for us to endorse,” he stated.
The military had said in a statement that 150 people died in the attack.
“From all evidences, the number of people who lost their lives during that attack has so far not exceeded about 150 in the interim,” the statement added.
When asked on the efforts being made by the military to recapture the ‘lost territories, Olukolade stated that covert operation was in the area, adding that intelligence gathering was on preparatory to the invasion of the area by the military.
He noted that the military must be careful in responding to the terrorist attack, saying that such is necessary so that more damage would not be caused by the military operation.
The army spokesmen said the Nigerian military, while not believing the casualty figures being given by the international organisations, was concerned about the allegations.
He stated that the recent massacre in Baga by Boko Haram insurgents further points to the fact that most of the human rights abuses being alleged by the international organisations are committed by the terrorists and not the military.
“For whatever the situation, the military doesn’t go against the professional rules; that is a serious concern. We don’t go against the rule right from the preparatory stage,” he added.