A senior military officer has claimed that President Goodluck Jonathan is being deceived by the high command on the true state of the anti-terror war in north-eastern Nigeria.
The officer, who cannot be named because of possible victimisation, said the day the president gets to know the true facts on ground, the country will begin to win the war against the Boko Haram insurgents.
For instance, he said contrary to last week’s claims by the defence headquarters that five soldiers were killed while repelling a Boko Haram attack in Damboa, Borno State, “we
lost far more than that number to the
He warned that grossly downplaying
casualty figures and feeding the president with a “sexed-up” picture of military victories “can only give us false hope when we direly need to re-strategise to crush the insurgency”.
On Saturday, the military issued a statement saying its men killed “more than 50” terrorists while repelling a “daring attack” on military formations, and that five soldiers and a senior officer were killed by the insurgents. It did not give figures of the wounded.
But according to the officer who spoke with TheCable on Monday, all these claims were devised by the military high command to paint a false impression of a terrorism war that the military “is nowhere near winning as evident in the ease and frequency with which the terrorists launch attacks on soldiers and civilians”.
“If all these announcements from Abuja are true, we wouldn’t be losing men on this scale so often,” he said.
He warned that for the military to defeat Boko Haram, the first step is for the presidency and the public to be made to understand the truth about casualties on both sides, so that the right measures can be taken to bolster the capabilities of the military.
“How many terrorists did they tell you that they killed in Damboa? You see, as I speak right now, the soldiers are scattered in the bush. The insurgents dislodged their brigade because Lt-Colonel Abubakar Shumba, who was their commander, got killed.
“The soldiers who were killed belonged to Unit 195, and those who escaped have not even gone back because many soldiers were lost. Those who said five soldiers died are not telling the truth. They just want to deceive the public. They don’t want people to know the facts.
“It is hard to say the exact number of
people that died because the soldiers have not gone back to the location. As we speak, there are still a number of corpses there. Since that attack, they have not gone back. But if we calculate the number of those that died, I’m sure it’s close to 40.”
He further revealed that the soldiers are now in dire need of motivation because they are still smarting from the loss of their colleagues.
“Just now, they took about eight dead
bodies to Mamalade, 7B headquarters. The remaining ones are still in the bush. The soldiers have not even gone back to the location. But they have a new commander.
His name is Colonel Oserere,” he said.
Director of defence information, Major- General Chris Olukolade, denied that the military gave false figures on the gun battle.
“Naturally, we should be bothered about what happens to our troops and we are. We are really concerned. Let it not be said that we are giving you different figures,” Olukolade told TheCable.
“The figure we gave you is what we have and if people gave you different figures because they want to rejoice, because they are happy to hear that Nigerian soldiers have been killed, whatever they are… But I have given you the official figures that I have about that incident. As for the wounded, I don’t have the actual figure for the wounded.”