EXCLUSIVE: 83 Nigerian soldiers still missing days after Boko Haram attack

Soldiers

At least 83 Nigerian soldiers, including a commanding officer, are still missing days after they came under a Boko Haram attack, PREMIUM TIMES can report.

Top level military sources monitoring the development told this newspaper that the soldiers were still missing in action as of Friday morning, four days after the attack.

The Army confirmed the attack in a statement on Tuesday, but has not given further updates. It did not also admit 83 soldiers were missing.

The latest update from several military personnel, follows our earlier report on how  Nigerian troops drowned in a river as they scampered for safety in the face of a superior firepower from the terrorists.

While about 22 of the fleeing soldiers were later rescued by their Nigerien counterparts and dispatched to a hospital in Diffa, southern Niger, several others were fatally wounded after Boko Haram opened fire on them when they jumped into the River Yobe.

The Army leadership has established contact with the 22 soldiers —including two that sustained serious gunshot wounds— recuperating in the Niger hospital, PREMIUM TIMES understands.

The missing Commanding Officer of 223 Tank Battalion in Gashigar, was identified as K. Yusuf, a lieutenant colonel.

Military sources said the troops could not withstand Boko Haram because they had only two light armour tanks to work with.

Even the two tanks were withdrawn from the battlefront in Damasak to Gashigar, leaving soldiers in Damasak and other small units nearby with no tank.

“May God touch the heart of our dear president to equip the Army,” the source said. “How have we offended him that has made him not to equip us as promised?” one source said. “May God touch his heart to forgive. Our men are dying daily here.”

Besides the poor equipment, the renewed show of strength by Boko Haram has frightened many, coming after months of relative success by Nigerian troops.

Since the beginning of this year, the Army had maintained that troops were clearing the sect’s remnants across the troubled Northeast as a precursor to a new phase of winding down combat operations.

The Buhari administration claimed credits for the “improved morale” of the troops which had made it possible for previously displaced residents to return to their communities and commence rebuilding efforts.

Corruption returns

But high-ranking sources on the ground told PREMIUM TIMES the latest setback was because poor morale had returned to the battlefield.

“On the day they were dislodged, troop’s morale was at the lowest ebb and troops were not ready to face the terrorists,” security sources said.

The sources said the soldiers have had to endure months of unpaid salaries and their allowances also being held by their superiors.

All military sources who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES asked that their identities be protected because of the sensitivity of the issue.

This turn of event had compelled some commanders on the battlefield to go out of their way in search of financial support to keep their men fed — albeit poorly.

“The cause of the low morale was due to their being fed once a day and the insensitivity of the authorities to pay them their allowances,” the source said. “Only part payment of their allowance for August has been paid to date.”

“The commanders on the ground go out of their ways to incur debt in order to feed their troops.

“The ration cash allowance meant for feeding was last paid for the month of August. So the Commanding Officers on the ground are the worst hit,” the sources said.

The sources blamed alleged greed of a few brigade commanders for the situation the troops now find themselves.

“Some brigade commanders reduce the official feeding ration of N500 per day to a meagre N300 just to make money. Our findings reveal that most locations outside Maiduguri only feed their troops once a day with mostly beans,” the sources said.

The sources said this “insatiable craze for quick money” bears a stark similarity with what obtained under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

“The last administration doled out a lot of money to the theatre of operations which was mismanaged,” the source said.

Other sources said the current pain is part of the consequences of a new distribution policy put in place by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, who came in a little over a year ago.

“The present Chief of Army Staff, in his good effort to minimise waste, decided to check these excesses by reducing maintenance allowance for the various units by half.

“So the commands are not too happy with the development and have resorted to looking into troops feeding money,” one source said.

They, nonetheless, described the policy as “a patriotic one” which was put in place to check the commanders’ use of allowances by “to settle political godfathers and patronise women”.

Army spokesman, Sani Usman, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ requests for comments.

Nigerian troops are fighting alongside their counterparts from Cameroon and the Republic of Niger.

Monday’s development marked the first time in more than two years that Nigerian troops would come under superior firepower that required foreign military personnel to come to their rescue.

A similar incident last occurred in August 2014 when about 480 troops crossed the border into Cameroon while fleeing Boko Haram.

The insurgency, which began in 2009, has left approximately 20,000 people dead and displacement of millions.

Boko Haram leaders recently engaged in negotiation with the Nigerian government which led to last week’s release of 21 of the over 200 girls kidnapped from Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014.


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  • Shift Luther

    pls vote for buhari 2019

    • North/West Allies

      hahahahaha

  • David

    In decent societies, such misconducts are punished swiftly and severely to discourage the tendency. But in Nigeria we love evil.

    • Emeka Dede Hacker Amadi

      Did we not complain that Dasuki and the people he fingered are being victimised politically? Naija, the country insolvable….

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    So Nigerian soldiers under the command of Buhari and Buratai are still fleeing the battlefield and getting rescued by foreign soldiers………..WHERE IS THE SO CALLED “CHANJI” ?

    Nigerians are being fed a lot of propaganda, one can only hope that those soldiers are found safe if not their commanding officers must be held accountable.

    • GodsaveHispeople

      Boko haram have been defeated since December last year___PMB

      • veritas

        Lol….

  • EVANGELIST INNOCENT OCHE

    Is this improvement or punishment for the release of the 21/270 chibok girls. Only God knows whether those girls escaped through their personal efforts and now Buhari is claiming the glory.

  • eMalanga

    So this sort of need begs the question: What type of training do our military get that they will drown in a river. US marines will stay in water for hours and still survive, they’d even jump into water themselves to avoid fire from the enemy or when they want to avoid being detected. Are they even trained at all?

    • The Optimist

      For where! It is recruit and deploy, as it was in the ancient time of the civil war. We should, at least, learn from successful countries.

      • Otile

        You will never learn. If you learn from successful countries your military will never kill fellow Nigerians in the name of war. The Nigerian military despises Nigerian civilians as bloody civilians and will waste them at the drop of a hat. What Buhari is commanding as military are crude militia men/women not military personnel.

    • veritas

      Marines arent Army. They are navy. And i believe they are meant to be issued life jackets. That thing is so cheap i wonder why they couldnt allocate those troops that. Its such a sad situation.

      • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

        The US marine corps is a section of the US army trained for sea borne invasions and amphibious warfare, they are not part of the navy. The navy mainly fight at sea with marine vessels, submarines and aircraft.

        • veritas

          Go and read about the History of the Marines and visit the UK royal marine website and see who’s website they are on. Nigerians classify all US military personnels as US army. They are different. Navy hit land based targets, they need to be able to verify that resistance are eliminated so forts are out of commission. its is for this reason they had to create an amphibious landing unit. Hence the Marines were born. That is why the are transported on Naval ships. Yes the squids and Jar heads dont get along because one unit is superior to the other who arent trained in full spectrum warfare.

          • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

            You are absolutely right that the US marines evolved from the Navy but since 1808, they have been operating independently as a fighting force with the navy delivering them to theatres of conflict. I am right to claim that they are not part of the US navy.

          • veritas

            You are right too. But if we follow the founding nation (UK) we will see they stuck to tradition which makes them Naval. Americans always change things like Football = soccer, rugby = American football (considering the hand is used mostly in that game), cricket = Baseball. they Might have made them independent to make commanding such a large force easier, but operating from Naval vessels and requiring Naval logistics kinda puts them theoretically in the Navy.

    • Otile

      First of all, ask yourself what our troops are fighting for. All the wars ever fought in Nigeria are war of greed originating from stupidity. What are they fighting for? US marines you mentioned do not fight senseless wars, they fight for worthy causes. What are the fulani and Boko Haram war mongers fighting for in Nigeria?

  • Simeon Nigel

    President M Buhari is fast laying the foundation for the disintegration or splitting or breaking-up of Nigeria if the entire Nigeria military establishment has continue to perpetrating heavy-handed corruption practices that are destroying soldiers’ (fighting BHT sects), morale and confidence. It is not surprising that up to date top military commander in the person of Lt.General Turkur Burutai is the very person responsible and encouraging corruptions on the very expenses of the whole of Nigeria national security that is so crucial and dearly needed for the entire Nigerian people. In my previous comments, I kept on stating that our today’s Nigeria military were highly corrupts even to such an extent that today a clear example has been demonstrated of recent by Boko Haram recent attacks on our military troops when those same troops were grossly under-feeds and their salaries and allowances were being withheld deliberately being burns out of selfishness and greediness by some top military commanders who do not care if Nigeria as a nation is totally destroyed. No one knows about those dead soldiers that were killed by BHT evil sect, what happened to their outstanding salaries and allowances and their families welfare care? Lt. General Turkur Burutai should resign right now, and also should be ashamed of himself. I am pretty sure that with current revelations, Lt.General Turkur Burutai will set about going about “witch-hunting and illegal disciplinary” whilst abusing his military range position to attacking those military personnel that revealed out today the continuing massive rots still going on right inside the military entire establishment of Nigeria today.

  • The Optimist

    It is most likely they deserted. It happened in times past during GEJ. They will later resurface and call it ‘a tactical withdrawal’. He who fights and runs away……! But they are not blame: the soldiers have had to endure months of unpaid salaries and their allowances also being held by their superiors. This group should be treated as saboteurs. The military should cleanse itself or, else, Buhari should handle them squarely. Enough of the crazy greed.

  • Abimbola

    Troops fed once a day with beans. Haba, even prisoners that have committed several atrocious acts are better fed.

    • We dey hear

      • “Today, i can report to you that the entire 70 plus kilometres stretch from Maiduguri

      to Bama and all the way to Banki which leads to Cameroun and the Central African

      Republic are in the hands of our gallant troops. They have so degraded the capacity

      of Boko Haram that the terrorists can no longer hold on to any territory just as they

      can no longer carry out any spectacular attack.”

      ………….(General) Lai Muhammed of APC party

      [December 23, 2015]

      • Statesman

        You are so funny. LMAO

      • ficus

        i beg u don’t kill me with laf. the road you mention is impassable as of today, the longest distance one can go as of this moment is from maiduguri-konduga, so whatever lie mohammand say has been proven to lies

  • Hillary Isife

    Asymmetric war can’t be won on the pages of Tabloids and other media outfits or through political innuendo. It is won tactically with a model from those that had experienced such. It is a war that requires intelligence gathering as a principle tool. The configuration of soldiers that we have now do not have the capacity to decimate the sect as claimed. 95% of soldiers our.are poorly educated. The present government should concentrate more on how best to equip the military materially and intellectually rather than using political gimmick to hoodwink the people

    • veritas

      Gbam!

    • vagabonds in power

      How many weapons has Bingo Buhari purchased since he assumed the mantle of leadership from the CIA———-and from which country————-the USA or China——abi na Russia—————-At least we know where Jonathan bought his from——————–Aware the only weapon that Bingo Buhari has so far bought for us to see———-is the fake Chibok girls he claimed to have helped to release————-from the IDP camps in Borno state————————

      • Burbank

        Up to 40 JF-17 fighter jets and 12 Mil Mi-35 Russian attack helicopters.

        www ourtimeiscome com/2016/01/17/8300/

        www defenceweb co za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=43913:nigerian-air-force-prepares-to-induct-mi-35-helicopters-jf-17-fighter-aircraft&catid=35:Aerospace&Itemid=107

        • EMMANUEL

          40 Jf -17 jets and 12 MI-35 attack helicopters in your dreams abi, Buhari has bought only 2 Mi-17 Terminator helicopters with the 24 MRAPS donated by the US Army late last year…..the weapons: Beryl rifles, Apcs, MRAPS, drones, MRLS, training and equipping of our special forces were done by the previous weapons….orders for more attack helicopters and other weapons were made by Dasuki before PMB came into power. PMB has been begging and believing Washington will dash him F-16s and other American weapons!! Guy, Buhari has done nothing yet as far as reequipping the military is concerned!!

  • veritas

    “The present Chief of Army Staff, in his good effort to minimise waste, decided to check these excesses by reducing maintenance allowance for the various units by half. (Dumbass that wouldnt work during wars. During Wars you spend more. Just have competent battle experienced lieutenants to properly manage all front line units finances.

    “So the commands are not too happy with the development and have resorted to looking into troops feeding money,” one source said. Translation: (some of them are thieving bastards!!!!)

    They, nonetheless, described the policy as “a patriotic one” which was put in place to check the commanders’ use of allowances by “to settle political godfathers and patronise women”.See what i have always said and people argue with me and some say maybe some Old Politician snatched my girl. None of them can or ever has. They cant compete with me. Back to topic, Godfathers and Nigerian women between 16 to 33 are killing this country. 40% of looted funds are taken because of these girls. Godfathers and the looters spend 40% of the loots on women.

    Nigerian Women between 16 to 33 you all need to stop these vanity driven life you all live.Luis Vuittons and apple products forever if your country falls apart? the flambouyant lives of Kim cardiganasian and K west arent what you should all consider as qualities in role models, and you should aspire to. You think you can enjoy the life after in your youth you destroyed it because you wanted to dress expensive like beyonce.

    • Burning Spear

      @wahala does yr post an Ibo man make sense to your regional head—————from the south east—————we are talking about the countries that Buhari bought arms for our soldiers from–and u are here commenting on whores——-even the Japs got Chinese whose to service their soldiers monkey-Was that why he escaped from the Seminary–

      • veritas

        i didnt say the moneys where diverted to whores, Its in the report above. I just picked on one area of the problem which creates the problem further. And what has the atrocities of world war 2 got to do with this different kind of war? You mis-understand my words. Guess you should comment on comments of people you usually do.

  • time to impeach Buhari

    He Bingo Buhari should also tell us how much he has so far spent on the purchase of arms–since he assumed the mantle of leadership via the CIA————–Last but not the least—————-it is clear from the murder of our soldiers by Boko haram that the alleged release of Chibok girls was fake——-the biggest fraud on mother earth by the Apes in APC–we call for an investigation—————-by the Senate and House————-For boko haram cannot attack our soldiers hours after the fake release of the chibok girls——————————–Again Bingo Buhari should disclose to us, the source of funds and how Buhari and his team managed the 19 billion naira that was given to him in cash by the then sitting Governor of the leading and largest state in the south west and the 24.6 billion naira that was given to him in cash and in one day (which was recorded on video before being handed over) by another leading south western politician.

    In addition to that he should tell us precisely how much the then Governors of Rivers State Rotimi Amaechi and Kano states and the present Governors of Ogun and Kwara states amongst many others contributed to Buhari’s campaign and where they got the money from. Since everyone is claiming to be holy and righteous in this matter let us all get there and publicly exchange notes. After all the Nigerian public, and indeed the entire world, has a right to know.Whether he Buhari does so or not other governments that will come to power in the future in this country will not only get the necessary answers but they will also do the appropriate thing and bring them to justice. It is only a matter of time.——-animals

    • The Optimist

      Wait a bit! Why don’t you try and be a little bit more cultured? Freedom is good but it’s abuse is an evil deed.

      • IZON Redeemer

        Another monkey on the loose with his regional thoughts again–when Jonathan was in Aso rock–it was fine for u to call him–(a drunken sailor fisher man abi-?)——————–Because your fathers owned Nigeria then–Now that the cursed spirit of a Fulani man is in Aso rock u want us to be more cultured–civil with him abi—-?————Did u forget about yr own moral duties as a semi human being to respect my Ijaw brothers when they were in aso rock——Yes u could not because u forget Respect is reciprocal abi—-Animals

        • Burbank

          And your Ijaw brother was removed from Aso Rock.

          • Otile

            He was removed by a terrorist, and the last state of Nigeria has become worse than the first.

          • Burbank

            And still removed.

  • Shehu Monguno

    So sad

  • tsunami1earthquake

    Unfortunately, Jonathan would be smiling now. Was this not what tainted his government? People said he could not rein in on the soldiers to stop the evil practice as if they expected Jonathan to become a superman and be everywhere to do the job his troops should be doing without supervision. History is now repeating itself.

    Everybody boasted that the current administration would stop all these and make the military more professional than ever! NOW we hope everybody should know better. The simple fact is that corruption has sunk deep into every strata of the society. Corruption seems to be second nature of Nigerians. So every Nigerian placed in any position would corner any means of finance at his disposal and convert it to himself. That’s the stark reality.

    And as history is repeating itself, don’t be surprised that very soon all the military gains claimed by the Nigerian military will be wiped off by the Boko Haram staging another comeback, as it happened during Jonathan’s time.

    Corruption is the bane of the Nigerian society. Period! Wait until this government is dislodged and you will see the level of stench it will leave behind. We squirm at Jonathan’s government and its accompanying corruption. Maybe tears might not be available to shed at the level of silent corruption this government will leave behind.

    Nigeria is only going through a revolving door.

  • Rominiyis

    I checked this report more than 4 times to make sure I was reading the account of a current event. Is this current or some report from the past before P. Buhari administration?. Hopefully it will come back as not accurate or true because this is similar to what the previous administration was accused of and the current government claim to have eliminated.

    • Otile

      Ogneni, believe whatever you want to believe, Imam Mohamed Buhari is a disaster, Nigeria is getting nowhere with this dummy.

      • Burbank

        Boko Haram founder sponsor Imam Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff is still ruling your PDP

        • Otile

          Whose PDP. I am not a member of PDP nor your Islamic APC for that matter. Don’t make yourself a liar by false accusation.

          • Burbank

            A serial liar, talking about false accusation!

  • Otile

    Where is Buhari’s Dubai $billionaire general? Boko done baje.

    • Burbank

      He’s instucting his southerner Navy Chief from Cross Rivers, to wipe out the terrorists from your creeks.

      • Otile

        Are you speaking for him? Don’t talk about what you don’t know.

        • Burbank

          And you spoke to him!

          • Otile

            Spoke to who? Do you mean the crooked Dubai $billionaire colonel?

          • Burbank

            Did you speak to him?

  • CEO

    This story is hard for me to believe, and I still have my doubts, but not entirely, given the the army’s spokesman’s reluctance for comment. Again, I ask, what are we confronted with currently, a Catch 22? Going by information churned out of the government machinery on a daily basis, corruption in the military is now nonexistent, the military has been re equipped to a sophistication level never seen in recent times. The morales of the military has shot above the sky and the fight against Boko Haram is going on full blast. The terrorists base in sambisa forest has been overrun, only a mop up operation is ongoing to route them out completely. This is what the country is being fed, contrary to the UN’s recent report in September, that twenty-two million people in Nigeria are living in territories held by Boko Haram. A former US ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell had also warned about the same time that with Boko Haram’s split, the group under Shekeau would become even more ruthless to prove superior, and that they were still bent on launching major attacks on Lagos and Kano. The French President Hollande and the UN Secretary General, Ban Kin Moon have also warned Buhari that Boko Haram was still a major threat, regardless of what successes the military had achieved in the fight against the group. A situation where a terrorist group wantonly dislodges and kills off trained soldiers with such ease as we’ve been seeing it over and over again calls for a serious investigation. More so, as we have a former Major General as the Commander-in-Chief. What do we now believe and whom do we take seriously? What is the wisdom behind slashing the troops allowance in half, if this will subject them to hunger and starvation, but help the field commanders to “save enough for themselves, to be able to acquire houses in Dubai with their wives and families”? One would’ve thought that disappearing food and funds meant for the IDPs was enough scandal for the current administration. This is not only shameful and ridiculous, but neutralizes any pretenses at the fight against corruption.
    Imagine our soldiers getting killed left, right and center because of starvation and lack of weapons.

    • GbemigaO

      If you think that there is any re-equipping going on , you are living in a fools paradise. They all have AK47 and no heavy and sophisticated gunnery. The soldiers allowances are being stolen on a daily basis . That is what is going on in the Bihari armed forces . But we sleep facing one direction always as a people. Same thing we did and allowed GEJ to lead us to this situation .

  • The exhilarating but hilarious cat and mouse hide and seek charade which has continued to unfold in North Eastern Nigeria is a harvest of bounties for story writers. The difference here is that millions of innocent Nigerians have been caught in this Muslim sponsored fundamentalist’s madness. As a proud Nigerian from the south-east of the country, it is difficult for me to explain to a foreigner what the real goals of Boko murderers are. We all know their origin. The Northern Elites know how Boko Haram was conceived and how the bastard child was delivered. They have stupidly wanted an illegitimate child to carry the flag of a Sharia law government in Northern Nigeria with the goal to Islamise the entire Nigeria nation and propagate their dangerous doctrine that encourages amputation for minor offences, public flogging, child rape and child “marriages”. Now this child has grown into a monster and gone out of control. But let’s not be deceived. The perpetrators of the Boko Haram mayhem did not fall from the skies. They are sons and daughters of Northerners, including the Northern Elites – the original godfathers and sponsors of the insurgency. They had accused the former President Jonathan of failure in tackling Boko Haram but foolishly forgot that Boko Haram atrocities was intensified to sabotage Jonathan’s Presidency.
    It is very shameful and preposterous to suggest that nobody in Northern elites knows where the ADDUCTED Chibbok girls were being held for over two years? Who negotiated for the release of the batch of 21? Or are they telling us that these girls have been holed up in the Sambisa evil forest since they were abducted? They were being fed and somebody was conveniently purchasing food for tem from the markets. Where are they being camped? Definitely, not in an underground in Sambisa forest.
    The sad news today is that at least 83 Nigerian soldiers, including a commanding officer, are still missing days after they came under a Boko Haram attack. Nigeria is the only country in the world where war prisoners are given amnesty in the middle of combat, when hostilities are very much in top gear. Boko Haram wanted their top commanders being held by the “authentic wing” of the Nigerian army to be release. And with intense pressure from the “Boko Haram wing” of the Nigerian army, Buhari obliged. No wonder then that these released Boko Haram fighters will disappear and join their colleagues in the Sambisa evil forest. It is difficult to contemplate that Boko Haram would survive this far without tactical support of the Northern Elites using their children who are majority in Nigerian army to further their course. There is reason why America and their allies in the fight against terrorism do not want to commit their men in Nigeria. They can give you ammunition with greatest reluctance fearing that these weapons can conveniently be passed over to the insurgents with minimal fuse. Sometime last year, Nigeria lost more than 100 soldiers at the hands on Boko Haram without a single statement from the President. You can hold your breath that nothing else would be heard about these alleged 83 soldiers that are feared “abducted by Boko Haram. #BRINGBACKOUR#SOLDIERS#.