Ten days after the deadly attack on Nigerian soldiers by Boko Haram insurgents at Metele, Borno state, the Nigerian Army, led by Brig Gen SI Igbinomwanhia COS HQ 6 Div, Wednesday paid a condolence visit to the widow of one of the late soldiers, Lieutenant Colonel Sakaba.
Sakaba, who was the commander of the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Abadam Local Government Area, was killed along with scores of soldiers on Sunday, 18 November 2018.
Although the Army is yet to disclose the details and number of casualties, unofficial reports have it that at least 100 troops were killed.
An officer among the troop attacked at Metele told foreign news agency Reuters that “the insurgents took us unawares. We lost about 100 soldiers. It is a huge loss.”
However, the army stated in its reaction to the attack that the reported casualty figures that were circulated at the time was untrue while confirming that the next of kins were to be contacted first before any public information.
Femi Adesina, Senior special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, on Sunday, however, said the Military did not release the casualty figures in line with global practice.
“All over the world, the military does not or rarely disclose the figure of its casualties,” Adesina said in an interview with Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
A fact-check by The Guardian showed the Adesina’s claim is untrue.
The attack has been condemned by security analysts while many Nigerians are also questioning how the $1 billion approved in April for firearms was used.
Soldiers complained about the deplorable state of their equipment in a five-minute video seen on Saturday, a soldier, while lamenting that dozens of troops had died in a recent attack, showed the burnt shells of several tanks and vehicles in the Metele base.
“See the weapons they bring here. These are not working,” he said.
“These are outdated vehicles, they are not working. They just keep them here for formality,” said the soldier.
President Buhari while reacting expressed deep shock on the attack and summoned the defence chiefs afterwards.
The Nigerian Senate adjourned its session last Thursday to mourn the fallen soldiers.