Soldiers with low fighting spirit must go, says Buratai

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Soldiers with waning fighting spirit in the ongoing anti-insurgency war are to get the push, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai said on Sunday.

Describing such soldiers as bad eggs, the Army chief said transformational leadership of which he is an advocate would not wait for them to get out of the way before they are kicked out.

Lt.-Gen. Buratai’s threat to ease out those he called “bad eggs” came less than a week after he decried their attitude on the battle field, blaming recent setback in the anti-terror war on “insufficient commitment to a common national and military cause by those at the frontlines”.

His remark at a conference in Abuja sparked criticisms, with some saying it was damaging to the troop’s morale. Others praised Gen. Buratai’s “courage” in admitting that something was wrong.

According to Army spokesman Col. Sagir Musa, the COAS made the latest remarks at the closing of Army Headquarters Transformational leadership workshop in Abuja.

Col. Musa said in a statement that the COAS implored officers and men of the Army to feel proud of their patriotic roles in their struggles to protect the nation’s sovereignty and integrity.

He quoted Gen. Buratai as saying: “The NA is already working to evolve and institutionalise formal mentoring frameworks to compliment the informal system.

“It is with a great sense of accomplishment that I address this distinguished audience to mark the successful conclusion of the maiden Army Headquarters Transformational Leadership Workshop 2019.

“In my opening remarks, I observed how the attitude of quite a few bad eggs among us, whose commitment to our national/military cause has waned and led to setbacks in our operations. I am glad that this workshop has clearly shown to everyone that we have great reasons to be proud of our nation.

“The long standing culture of service, sacrifice and honour in the NA has been reaffirmed in the various life lessons and examples of our colleagues – serving, retired or late – whose stories were highlighted during the workshop.

“This culture should reinvigorate and motivate you as transformational leaders for selfless service to the nation.

In Borno State, far away from the workshop venue, troops neutralised two terrorists after thwarting an ambush plan by the insurgents, the Army announced on Sunday.

Col. Musa said the ambush was laid against the troops by desperate members of the Boko Haram terrorists, who were in dire need of food and other essential materials.

He said in a statement that troops on escort duty later killed two terrorists during a fierce encounter that followed.

Col. Musa said: “In its routine effort in providing and maintaining a secure, and steady passage of persons and goods as well as free vehicular movements on some notable roads/Main Supply Routes (MSR) in the Northeast, troops of 26 Brigade Garrison on patrol and escort duties of civilian merchants and commuters on Wala village and adjoining communities on Saturday, June 22, 2019, had a fierce encounter with desperate terrorists’ ambush team, desperately craving for food and other essentials.

“During the encounter, troops swiftly responded with heavy gunfire, thwarted the ambush, exterminated two terrorists and captured two AK 47 rifles.

“Subsequently, intelligence revealed that the terrorists were informed by their informants of the troops’ movement in order to use the opportunity to grab foodstuff that they direly need for survival.

“To consolidate on the gains achieved from the ambush clearance, further exploitation of the general area and beyond was undertaken with the troops of 121 Task Force Battalion dispatched to reinforce the 26 Brigade Garrison.

“During advance, troops discovered two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) concealed along their axis of advance. The IEDs were successfully detonated and cleared.

“Despite the IED threat, the resilient troops proceeded further to ensure the general area is cleared of terrorists and explosives. There is no casualty on the part of Nigerian Army troops during the operation.

“Instructively, the exploits in the ongoing Operation Halaka Dodois yielding successes. The Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division Nigerian Army Operation Lafiya Dole, Brigadier General Abdulmalik Bulama Biu on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff commended the troops for the successes achieved. He urged them to be more vigorous and decisive to end the insurgency. He also conveyed the assurance of the unyielding support of the Chief of Army Staff in this regard.

In Katsina State, troops arrested 20 suspected bandits and kidnappers, among them a notorious kingpin, the Army said on Sunday.

According to the army spokesman, troops recovered weapons, motorcycles and foodstuff from the suspects.

He alleged in a statement that the gang was responsible for cattle-rustling and kidnapping in Katsina.

The statement reads: “In continuation of operations against armed banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other criminalities in Katsina State, troops of 17 Brigade on Operation Harbin Kunama III have arrested a notorious bandit/kidnapping kingpin, Mallam Bawa Gomna and 20 others during operations around Batsari, Jibia and Safana Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Katsina State between June 3 and 21, 2019.

“Those arrested so far are reportedly responsible for terrorising villagers in Batsari, Jibia and Safana local government areas.

“The criminal elements were apprehended based on credible intelligence from the locals, and have confessed taking part in several banditry activities, cattle-rustling and other sundry crimes.

“They, as usual, will be handed over to the respective law enforcement agency for further action.

“The 17 Brigade Nigerian Army commends and appreciates all those that provided the information that led to the arrest of the criminals and urged members of the public to continue to support security agencies with credible information to combat the insecurity.”

Col. Musa listed those arrested and seized items as: Bawa Gomna of Garin Waiziri in Safana Local Government Area, Mallam Bello Sabiu of Fafara village of Jibia Local Government Area and Ibrahim Umar of Fafara village, Jibia Local Government Area – logistics suppliers of the bandits.

“Others are: Mallam Ibrahim Labo of Shamushelle village in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area, Zamfara State, Musa Lawal (Maitonga village in Safana Local Government Area), Mallam Adamu Mohammed (Mairuwa village, Faskari Local Government Area) and Ibrahim Babangida Mairuwa (Faskari Local Government Area).

“Also arrested are: Sani Adamu (Mairuwa village, Faskari Local Government Area), Yusuf Abubakar ( Mairuwa village, Faskari Local Government Area) and Adamu Saidu (Mairuwa village, Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State).

“Also, troops recovered motorcycles, foodstuff, handsets and jerry cans of petroleum motor sprit (PMS) from the bandits,” Col. Musa stated.

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