Boko Haram: Nigerian soldiers’ wives maintain blockade, insist husbands won’t fight until well armed

The wives and children of soldiers at the Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri, have maintained their blockade of the barracks 48 hours after they started.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported on how dozens of women and children have since Saturday forcefully stopped military trucks from transporting their husbands and fathers to Gwoza. The protesters blocked the gates of the barracks that houses the 21 Armoured brigade of the Nigerian army. They demanded quality fighting equipment for the soldiers.

By Monday morning, the protesters were still at the gates, ensuring that no vehicle moves in or outside the barracks. They were said to have taken a short break during the nights, but resumed before dawn.

The authorities at the barracks were said to have reversed the orders to deploy the soldiers to Gwoza, which was taken over by the Boo Haram last week, as they did not want to arm the protesters.

Soldiers who moved in and out of the barracks did so on foot without rifles or vehicles.

A soldier who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri said “there was a stand down order on the deployment of troops to Gwoza from Giwa Barracks. So we are watching for now; the women really tried and we expect the ogas (superiors) to start thinking better arms for us, or no deployment “.

Two separate attempts by the military to retake Gwoza have been repelled by the insurgents leading to the death of several soldiers including a senior officer believed to be a Colonel.

Over a hundred people were killed by the insurgents in Gwoza last week until they finally took control of the town and mounted their flag. The Boko Haram virtually burnt down the town including major buildings like the police station, local government headquarters, and the emir’s palace.

Some of the surviving residents are believed to be trapped on the mountains that link Gwoza to Cameroon.

On Saturday, hundreds of survivors from Gwoza, who managed to find their way to Maiduguri, joined hundreds of others including families of those killed to embark on a protest in the Borno capital. They accused the federal and state governments of abandoning Gwoza residents and threatened to go join Cameroon so as to secure their lives from the insurgents.

The military is yet to make an official statement on the protest by the wives of the soldiers at the Giwa barracks, particularly on their demand that their husbands be well armed and equipped before being sent to the war front.

The military had in the last week retaken some other communities including Damboa from the Boko Haram, whose activities have led to the death of over 13,000 people since 2009.


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