Top officer reveals Col Abu Ali death's details, army's future

Top officer reveals Col Abu Ali death's details, army's future

Editor's note: The sudden death of Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Abu-Ali has caused several days of natioanal mourning as the Nigerian army's most efficient fighter and five soldiers lost their lives in battle with Boko Haram terrorists last week.

The army has reportedly launched an inquiry into the circumstances of the deaths. However, it seems there were no extraordinary pitfalls and soldiers' deaths is part of the Nigerian's army routine.

Premium Times reporters managed to speak to an anonymous top military officer who is a part of the north-east operation. The insider detailed how the officer and his soldiers fell and why even more Nigerian soldiers are expected to be killed by Boko Haram in the nearest future.

Thank you very much officer for agreeing to talk to us. We are sorry to hear of the death of Lt. Col. Abu Ali, a gallant and brave officer who gave his all to his country. We also learnt that he was killed alongside some soldiers. What really happened?

Top officer reveals Col Abu Ali death's details, army's future
The funeral of the slain soldier, Lt. Col. Abu Ali, at Abuja Airport on November 7

What happened was that Boko Haram terrorists ambushed our troops on Friday night at Mallam Fatori. Lt Col Abu Ali was killed on his way to reinforce troops there.

Information available reveals that one officer and 49 soldiers were withdrawn from Mallam Fatori on Friday morning and Boko Haram attacked at night indicating they possibly had advance information of the troops reduction in number.

Six soldiers and 14 Boko Haram terrorists were killed alongside Lt Col Abu-Ali, who was granted special promotion in 2014 for his gallantry in the fight against Boko Haram.

There is great mourning across the theatre of operations. Everyone is in mourning mood. May God grant the senior officer Aljanat Firdaus.

But why are attacks and killing of Nigerian troops becoming rampant in the past weeks?

It is sad that the Nigerian Army is announcing that the attacks are being carried out by remnants of Boko Haram terrorists when all reasonable persons can see that Boko Haram is still a formidable force. The Nigerian Army is more concerned with pleasing the political class while the grassroots people are still suffering.

It is the duty of the Nigerian Army public relations department to make the Nigerian Army look good but it is also necessary for the Nigerian Army to take practical steps to end this insurgency by improving the equipment state of the Nigerian Army and telling the government the true state of affairs.

What is the true state of affairs?

The truth is that from September to November this year, we have lost so many troops that can’t even be accounted for. Prominent amongst those lost are Maj DS Erasmus and 8 soldiers – 25 Sep 2016 due to IED / ambush along Bama – Banki road.

READ ALSO: 1271 people suspected of links with Boko Haram RELEASED

Lt Col K Yusuf and 83 soldiers missing in action on 16 Oct 2016 when Boko Haram attacked troops location at Gashigar. Lt Col M Abu-Ali and five soldiers were killed on 4 November 2016 on their way to reinforce troops at Mallam Fatori during Boko Haram attack.

On 5 November 2016, two soldiers were killed at Kwada during Boko Haram attack on troops location. One soldier was wounded while another two were declared missing in action.

In another attack in Kangarwa on 6 November, one soldier was killed while four other soldiers were wounded in action. Thirteen Boko Haram terrorists were killed and unconfirmed number of them was wounded.

Why are attacks on troops becoming more and more regular?

It’s dry season here and the ground allows smooth movement of vehicles. Boko Haram terrorists have a better knowledge of the local terrain so they can easily access troops location and escape.

Furthermore, there’s pressure on Boko Haram terrorists around Sambisa general area hence they seem to have pooled forces together to concentrate on the northern Borno axis.

So what can Nigerian authorities do to reduce casualties on the side of Nigerian troops?

The major cause of casualties on troops at the moment is poor equipment state. At the moment, the equipment in the theatre are mostly worn out and almost obsolete. Provision of adequate equipment is the only answer for now. Troops confidence is a function of sound and functional equipment.

READ ALSO: Chibok girl, her Boko Haram baby helicoptered to Maiduguri (photos)

Remember that man without equipment is at best inefficient and machines without man are almost useless. This points to the need for adequate equipment in the theatre to minimize casualty rate in the theatre.

What kinds of equipment are obsolete, and what kinds are needed at this time?

The tanks (especially Vickers MBT) in the theatre are so worn out that they often do not get to action most times troops are under attack. This is why the semi-serviceable T-72 tanks are being moved everywhere in the theatre. This explains why Lt Col Abu-Ali was almost everywhere there was threat as he commanded the T-72 tank Battalion.

The artillery Shilka guns are even the worst. Boko Haram terrorists fear the effect of Shilka guns but I still wonder why almost all Shilkas are not serviceable in the theatre.

READ ALSO: PHOTOS, VIDEO: Buratai represents Buhari as Nigeria laid to rest Colonel Abu Ali, others

Even more worrisome is the fact that the Nigerian Army has not procured more Shilka guns because they are Russian made and the bottleneck to buy them is not too much like those of Western countries.

But the impression being created is that troops are better off now in terms of equipment than under Jonathan

Unfortunately, for every battle we engage in, the equipment keep wearing and to worsen issues, these equipment were not procured with their fast-moving spare parts. The big question is, how many equipment has the present government procured and where are they deployed for use?

More details at Premium Times original article.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


Online view pixel