We fight Boko Haram with arms procured during Shagari era, soldiers lament

By Umar Salam.

Some military officers have made startling revelations about the lingering fight against insurgency in the North-East.

The officers who spoke to Punch on condition of anonymity lamented that the Nigerian military was still stuck on obsolete and aging equipments while insurgents had acquired modern military hardware.

One of such outdated equipments identified by the soldiers was the Shilka guns which was procured by late Alhaji Shehu Shagari during the Second Republic.

The officers disclosed that although the guns were refurbished, a lot of their components were missing, hence could not withstand the sophisticated ones used by Boko Haram.

“The Shilka guns were acquired under Shagari’s government. We have many of them but they are outdated, so they were refurbished, even though a lot of their components are missing. However, they were deployed in the North-East for the anti-insurgency war like that, hence they fail during battles.

“Recently, Boko Haram even stole one from the troops. So, while we are battling with the refurbished Shilka, ISWAP fighters deploy the latest technology to attack us, and you know the President said a week ago at an ECOWAS meeting that how the terrorists deploy more sophisticated weapons is a matter of concern”, one of the officers was quoted as saying.

It was also gathered that some equipments procured by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 which facilitated the capture of some territories seized by the insurgents did not come with spare parts, so the soldiers had to revert to the use of the outdated Shilka weaponry.

Another officer highlighted some recent gadgets Boko Haram had acquired which gives them the upper hand when faced in battle with the Nigerian military.

“We don’t have night vision goggles and it’s sad because those terrorists use it as an advantage over us in the night.

“In each of their operation areas, they have suicide bombing squads that move around with them; they have medical teams and engineering teams to manufacture make-shift bridges if they have to cross obstacles or repair any damaged vehicle during the attack. They also have a casualty recovery team that evacuates their dead and injured colleagues during attacks.

“They are well equipped and that is why they launch RPGs cheaply and easily,” the officer said.

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