It is no longer news that Nigeria got screwed in the week of 18 November 2018. This article was triggered by a grievous tweet. My country just lost over 100 trained soldiers in one week. That’s enough to upset me.
Metele Boko Haram Attack: Soldiers’ death toll rises to 118; over 150 missing https://t.co/rYkX2iBoa5
— Premium Times (@PremiumTimesng) November 24, 2018
#ISWAP in Al-Naba news confirmed that it carried out attacks on a military base in Metele, on 18th and a second one on 19th/20th, when the military went to collect the fallen comrades. In all, the terror group claimed to have killed 100 soldiers.
— Ahmad Salkida (@A_Salkida) November 23, 2018
The Premium Times tweet triggered this article. You can get more details on the shameful cum sad episode from this Reuters report. In the meantime, here’s a wrap of the fiasco. A faction of Boko Haram attacked a Nigerian army position in Metele and some other locations near the Nigerian-Chadian border and wiped out a large chunk of the soldiers there. Then they waited for the army to come pick up the bodies and pumped bullets into the fresh contingent. In all these, the Nigerian Airforce did not show up (at least no report of that).
Starting with the air force, I wonder if the army even had GPS coordinates of those military positions or even had an active communication line with the commanders on the ground. I understand this thought line seems outrageous but for an air force that mistakenly bombed a camp for internally displaced persons, my trust in their competence in surgical strikes is shaken. The “mistakenly” bombed IDP camp suggested the air force did not have coordinates for that camp’s location despite that camp being under the army’s protection. This underpins my worry that for Metele and other army positions, coordinates that would have guided the air force might be non-existent.
Last I checked a decent source, the body count had peaked at 114. You wonder if it was a battle or if the terrorists carried out a range classification exercise there in which soldiers were used for target practice.Shocking beyond belief…
— BEEGEAGLES BLOG (@beegeaglesblog) November 23, 2018
I sit and wonder how over 100 soldiers could be killed like that without a matching or even heavier loss on the terrorists’ side. I am yet to see stats of the Syrian Army, the Libyan Army or the Yemeni Army losing that many soldiers in such a short time span despite being in full blown wars. There is a video online showing some Nigerian soldiers complaining about being poorly equipped and being “used” by superior officers to make money.
“They are using us to make money, 200 soldiers killed within one week. We are now 147…” – Nigerian Soldiers lament at Metele, accuse @HQNigerianArmy of supplying outdated weapons (VIDEO),@MBuhari this calls for comcern.
RT this video to save our soldiers! pic.twitter.com/P0knPfyDkI
— WIRED Nigeria (@wiredNG) November 24, 2018
Using that video and comments I have heard from serving military personnel, I believe that certain principalities and powers in the Nigerian military establishment are hell-bent on ensuring the Boko Haram menace continues, so they can continue growing fatter and buying houses in Nigeria and extremely cheap cities like Dubai while their “boys” roll in the trenches of Sambissa. In fact, this might be a reason why certain senior military officers would miss intelligence reports and mistakenly waltz into a political campaign launch.
Some persons are gaining from the continued killings in the North-East. This I believe is a certainty. The beneficiaries likely range from military officers, contractors, weapons suppliers, to even some NGOs whose reason for existence and driver of fundraisers would be eliminated if the northeast were to be peaceful. Sadly, these ones have no sense of morals nor pity for the suffering multitudes; only caring for their pockets, amassing wealth they might not successfully squander in three lifetimes.
Metele serves as a fork in history, as a decision point whether we want things to continue the way they have been or want to make a change. For all his credentials as a military doyen, I am disappointed in President Buhari’s inability to move beyond the propaganda of a “technically defeated” Boko Haram. We excoriated former President Jonathan for his abysmal performance in tackling Boko Haram and attributed it to his civilian background. Today we have a former army general who promised to end Boko Haram speedily, yet under whose watch we are having what seems to be the largest consistent loss of military lives. While acknowledging the entrenched interests who wish to continue milking the country such as the infamous grasscutter who used hundreds of millions to clear grass in an IDP camp, the buck stops on Buhari’s table to get Boko Haram under control and bring our soldiers back home.
For me, I worry about the soldiers being used as pawns in the battlefield. I worry because they signed up to defend Nigeria, yet they are being used as disposable cups whose lives have no meaning. I worry about the ability of the Nigerian military to continue recruiting new soldiers, especially from the southern parts of Nigeria where persons might be more open to try their luck at better opportunities with foreign militaries like the UK’s. I worry that if recruitment nosedives, some silly clowns may push a US Vietnam-war style law to make military conscription compulsory for certain Nigerians. I worry about the families thrown into mourning by the reckless selfishness of immoral principalities. I worry about the parent or sibling wondering whether their active-duty relative is still alive or decomposing in the unforgiving desert sand.
What. Is. Happening? These soldiers are human beings. With families. They are not little disposable cups. https://t.co/mxcq2xZeXv
— The Writer Formerly Known As Elnathan (@elnathan_john) November 23, 2018
Metele is a shame. Metele is saddening. Metele is one massacre too many. Metele should never have occurred. More annoying is the plausibility of a media blackout in Nigeria regarding the Boko Haram fiasco as most reports have come from foreign media organisations, non-mainstream media and individuals. Metele deserves widespread coverage. Metele should not happen anywhere else ever again.
Adieu to every murdered soldier. May their deaths change history.
Image Credit: livingtvglobal.com.ng