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Nigeria soldiers with Boko Haram flag

The Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has condemn in totality the recent killing of over 100 Nigeria soldiers by the Islamic extremist insurgents, Boko Haram.

A statement signed by the President of CDHR, Mr Malalchy Ugwummadu lamented that the onslaught was a serious security breach and concern that should not be ignored.

“The fact of Boko Haram’s latest massacre inflicted on the soldiers of 157 Task Force Battalion of the Nigerian Army has clearly raised serious security breach and concern that cannot be ignored. On November 19, 2018 Boko Haram terrorists attacked a military base in Metele Village in Borno State, killing several soldiers. The current death toll stands at over 100. Among the dead are the base commander and 5 officers. This has clearly compromised the coercive integrity of the country.

“Eye witness reports state that the terrorists arrived at the military base in 20 trucks and unleashed terror on the Nigerian Army for about 1 hour. However during that short time, an unimaginable number of casualties was recorded on the side of the Nigerian Army. The terrorists were better armed and they used that to their advantage. By the time the soldiers attempted to retreat it was already too late because they were surrounded by the enemy. The terrorists continued their onslaught and leveled the military base. Air backup did not arrive on time to assist the soldiers but rather it arrived after the attack had ended.

“A few soldiers managed to escape but several were not as fortunate. In addition to that, hundreds of soldiers are reported missing. Boko Haram terrorists looted the weapons meant for the Nigerian Army. The bodies of the fallen soldiers are yet to be recovered due to the fact that an initial attempt at recovery was met with an ambush that claimed yet more lives.

“The delay displayed in the response of the Presidency to the attacks is alarming with the President acknowledging the attack 5 days after its occurrence. This gross display of nonchalance does not speak well of the government. In spite of the fact that the Federal Government repeatedly claims that the Boko Haram insurgents have been”technically defeated” the terrorist group is still inflicting harm through killings and kidnappings. The occurrence of such attacks poses itself as a major setback in the fight against terrorism.

“Soldiers have repeatedly decried the lack of weapons and support that would enable them effectively combat the Boko Haram terrorists. This shows that there is still a lot of work to be done to rebuild the military capacity of the army to a point where there will be no reason for soldiers to prefer retreating due to fear in the face of battle.

“The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) vehemently condemns the killing of the soldiers of the Nigerian Army by Boko Haram terrorists. The killings are a gross violation of the fundamental right to life guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). The section provides as follows:

“Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”

“On account of this CDHR calls on the Federal Government to do the needful and conduct a proper investigation into the matter in order to ensure that the terrorists who carried out this crime face the wrath of the law and to prevent the reoccurrence of such disastrous attacks. The Federal Government should also provide proper weapons, equipment and support for soldiers who are deployed to combat the menace of terrorism as this would go a long way to ensuring the safety of the people of Nigeria and guaranteeing their constitutional right to life. It is indeed a disgraceful thing to hear allegations that those charged with the protection of the country are not well equipped for battle.

“CDHR also extends its deepest sympathies to the families of the fallen soldiers and pray that they may receive fortitude to bear the loss of their loved ones.”