- The Nigerian Army has detained a captain, alongside 70 soldiers, over the well publicised Maiduguri airport mutiny
- The army has also moved the suspects to 2 different locations for the commencement of their trial
- The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, had described the soldiers’ action as unacceptable
A report by Vanguard indicates that officers and men of the Nigerian Army who staged a mutiny at Maiduguri Airport two weeks ago have been arrested and detained.
According to the report, a captain and no fewer than 70 others are in detention, in what military authorities described as “an embarrassing action, which is against military rules of engagement.”
The captain (names withheld), was said to have led others who refused to be redeployed to Gamboru Ngala, a border town in Borno state with Niger Republic, which is known as the stronghold of Boko Haram insurgents.
The arrest and detention of the suspects, according to competent military sources quoted in the report, followed the order by Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Yusuf Buratai, that the suspects be arrested and subjected to severe military disciplinary action.
Following the directive by the COAS, the suspects had since been moved into two unknown locations in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, with a view to subjecting them to a court martial.
Sources quoted in the report, however said, the suspects rejected their posting to Gamboru Ngala because of war fatigue as most of them had been fighting Boko Haram insurgents for years without rotation.
It was gathered that the soldiers particularly loathed the idea of being sent to the war-front, given the fact that many of their colleagues who were earlier sent there were either killed or badly injured and their equipment taken away by the rampaging insurgents due to bad weather and insufficient platforms.
“We became afraid when we discovered that no fewer than 30 soldiers who were sent there were killed within three days due to the heavy rainfall, which has further worsened the terrain mastered by the insurgents.
“We do not know why the Nigerian Army suddenly changed its mind and decided to deploy troops to the dreaded area after it had announced that it had pulled out of Gamboru, where Boko Haram appears be operating from after being pushed away from the Sambisa Forest," a source said.
Speaking for the first time since the incident, Buratai said: “The incident at the Maiduguri airport that happened just about two weeks ago is an issue, which ordinarily is unimaginable, that disciplined troops, soldiers will behave in that way.
“But we have our procedures and this issue has been thoroughly investigated and those that have been found to be involved will face military justice. This sort of affairs will never be tolerated no matter the person or persons involved."
Four months ago, Buratai offered five youths of Gbajimba Community in Guma local government area of Benue state automatic recruitment into the Nigerian Army.
The COAS made the announcement while interacting with members of the community shortly after he visited troops stationed in the area to ward off herdsmen attacks.
He immediately directed the commander, 72 Special Forces Battalion, Lt.-Col. Suleiman Mohammed, who accompanied him on the visit to select the five youths and screen them. He said they must, however, possess recruitment requirements for enlistment.
Nigerian Air Force operations against Boko Haram on Legit.ng TV