Nigerian soldiers mutiny over lack of weapons

Kano - Dozens of Nigerian soldiers have refused to deploy for an offensive against Boko Haram Islamists until they receive better weapons, several of the mutineers told AFP on Wednesday.

The troops said they had been ordered to move out of their barracks in the northeastern city of Maiduguri towards the Gwoza area of Borno state, where the insurgents have reportedly seized pockets of territory.

But one of the soldiers, who asked not to be named, said: "We have vowed not to move one inch until our superiors provide us with all necessary weapons to effective confront and dislodge Boko Haram who have far better arms."

The troops said they had set up a camp in the Bulabulin area on the outskirts of Maiduguri.

"We are being killed like chickens by Boko Haram because we are not given the required weapons to fight," said another soldier who also requested anonymity. "We say enough is enough."

Some officials and independent experts have said that Boko Haram fighters are better armed than Nigerian troops.

Borno's Governor Kashim Shettima was fiercely criticised by the military after he made such a claim in February.

Residents in towns raided by the Islamists have said the insurgents are often armed with rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft weapons mounted on trucks and, in some cases, armoured personnel carriers.

Soldiers by contrast often lack ammunition for their AK-47 rifles and have reportedly been sent out to the bushlands to fight without basic communication equipment.

Last month, military wives protested at the gate of a military base in Maiduguri trying to stop their husbands from deploying to Gwoza until they were properly equipped.

One of the mutineers said the group was compelled to revolt following an operation to retake the town of Damboa, which Boko Haram seized last month.

"We took over Damboa at a huge cost because the enemy had better weapons," said the soldier.

President Goodluck Jonathan has asked lawmakers to approve a $1bn foreign loan to upgrade the capacity of the military.

Parliament did not vote on the bill before breaking for recess but many saw Jonathan's request as a tacit acknowledgement that his military is being out-matched by the Islamist rebels.

Boko Haram has been blamed for more than 10 000 deaths since 2009 but the scale of their attacks appears to have escalated in recent months.

Entire villages have been razed across the northeast this year and the relentless violence has forced more than 600 000 people to flee their homes.

Tseky Lovelace 2014/08/20 05:40:38 PM
They must also ask drug dealers and 419 scammers to donate
David Jones 2014/08/20 05:45:58 PM
Africa biggest economy. What a shame!
Tumi Motlatla 2014/08/20 05:56:35 PM
It's a real shame. ......
Nico Ratsela 2014/08/20 07:01:38 PM
How can soldiers wear sandals.
Victor Fedrick 2014/08/20 09:34:55 PM
100% lies they must be arrested immediately,they are the sympathizers of boko haram.
Bathwale Dlangamandla 2014/08/21 05:18:56 AM
Train the womans to be,the soldiers and give these bustad dresses,they are the desgrace for their country .
James jonas 2014/08/21 06:31:00 AM
Is true what the soldiers are saying. someone sitting some where in Europe is busy shipping weapons to rebels in Africa so that barbarians can slaughter each other while the weast take control of mineral resources. and Africa remain underdeveloped. Comrade Gaddafi spoke of United Africa. Comdrade Mbeki spoke of Africanism. Comdrade Mugabe exposed the west( laangscaste agreement), but the capitalist betrayed them. For they see West as their God. Africans wake up terrorism in Africa is an engineered Machine to destabilise Africa.
Albert Nkhoma 2014/08/21 07:52:37 AM
Sounds like another Nollywood movie
X-lotz John 2014/08/21 07:44:59 PM
Disobeying a direct order is treason,u signed undertaken to be loyal and die for ur country,a soldier have no right to reject order even if u are bein given a stick to fight ur opponent who carries gun,u have to cos dat wat makes u a soldier... So die with honour!!!!!!