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Nigerian Army faults 100 troops desertion claims

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Nigerian Army has refuted claims that no fewer than 100 troops comprising officers and soldiers deserted their duty point after Boko Haram terrorists attacked Marte and Dikwa communities in Borno State.

It explained that the need to dissuade Nigerians’ minds and put things in proper perspective necessitated the clarification after the wrong impression that greeted the purported desertion reports.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General, Mohammed Yerima, who described the report as unfounded, said that the desertion rumour was an attempt to malign the army’s image.

Through a statement on Thursday, Yerima added that contrary to the report, the misinformation emanated from a poorly done internal correspondence that was originated by the formation.

“This publication is false, unfounded, and an attempt to malign the image and character of the Nigerian Army. For the records, in the fog of war, it is a routine that headcount is conducted to determine the number of men and equipment holding aftermath of the military offensive.

“Unfortunately, an internal correspondence that was originated by the formation was not properly done. It was later discovered that a good number of those affected rejoined their respective units and are currently part of the ongoing clearance operations.

“Members of the general public are please advised to disregard the story as the subversive intent of the promoters are targeted at dampening the morale and fighting efficiency of our troops. We continually solicit especially the much-needed public support in the fight against Boko Haram.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to reassure the general public that troops are in high spirit and currently clearing areas infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists/ISWAP. It is on record that the troops fought to defend the Internally Displaced Persons Camp and United Nations Humanitarian Hub in Dikwa. It is pertinent to also note that normalcy has returned to Dikwa and its environs,” the statement said.

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