Heart Touching Story from Boko Haram War Front by a Soldier PART 1

Heart Touching Story from Boko Haram War Front by a Soldier

Combat is never a comfortable or enjoyable experience and cant be made so. But the soldier who is eating well, has adequate supplies and modern equipment, and also feels that he is being supported both by the Army and the civilian population, will perform far better than the one who feels neglected,” – Lt. Gen. William G. Pagonis.

For more than ten years now, the dreaded and blood-thirsty members of the insurgent group called Boko Haram have held the nation and some African states in the jugular. They have continued to spill blood and bile, kidnap, rape and rob, especially in the North Eastern part of the country and beyond, without restraint.

On their part, the Nigerian army have embraced the challenge with vigour, vivacity and verve. They have exhibited unequalled and unrestrained gallantry.
However, the bloody music has continued ceaselessly drenching the nation with unimaginable tales of horror being unleashed by the insurgents.

A chance meeting with one of the active participants and a gallant soldier, straight from the battle field, unravelled stomach-churning and eye-popping tales from the war front, fit only in dreams.

Life in Maiduguri

Life there generally in Maiduguri was not easy, but we thank God for the grace to be alive. I have crisscrossed and served at many locations there, because I am a member of the Armed Forces Special Forces (AFSF), so, if there is an attack in any location, we are likely to be moved to reinforce another location.

I have been under Mafa, a local government where we have 112 Force Battalion as at September/December 2016. I have also been in Dikwa, the Headquarter of 22 brigade. From Dikwa we moved to Gachigbo where we had a company located there, then to Logomani, then to head bridge, the Gaborun ngala, under Calabangi local government. From Calabangi local government, we equally have a location called Rann, where last time, there was a helicopter mishap.

When they came, rather than shooting the enemies who were at the IDP camp, they shot at us about 8-9 pm on that faithful day. They claimed later that they could not differentiate between the enemies and our soldiers.

But that excuse did not hold water. This is because we were well kitted but Boko Haram insurgents were a rag-tag group and you could easily differentiate us from them. Moreover, a fighter with night vision goggle was supposed to differentiate us from the enemies. This obviously cannot happen with the British or US army.

Secondly, many times when we come under enemy attack, we call air force and sometimes they don’t come. Sometimes they come and say they don’t have the authorization to engage the enemies. Just like the attack that took place on August 15, this year at Bama, the jet went ahead and saw those Boko Haram Troups bouncing towards our location.

He told the ground troops to withdraw, that the strength of the enemy was overwhelming. The officer who was a major, standing in place of the commanding officer ordered us to engage them, but the pilot said he had not received authorization. Do we need authorization from anywhere to kill the insurgents when they were killing our soldiers? So, we went ahead and recorded another mass casualty there. Sometimes, they will tell you they don’t have aviation fuel.

Camerounianans and Mine Resistant vehicles

Also, the incident that took place in July, this year, in Jakana which is the Operational Area Responsibility (OAR) for 212 Taskforce battalion, when the fighter jet eventually came, they released only one bomb and disappeared. When Boko haram terrorists came again, the troops withdrew.

Then, we called them to return but they refused, saying that Boko Haram was shooting at it with Anti Aircraft (AA). They also claimed that they could site some of our soldiers on uniform among them but we told them that those people were not our men; they just had uniform. We told them to kill anything you see inside the camp.

The pilot still left. That was why Boko haram over ran that camp. At a point in time, when the General Officer in Command, GOC, paid a visit to the location two days after the attack, he was not happy with the performance of the Airforce. The battles fronts are many. Bama, Banki, Darel-Jema, Kumshe areas where we and some Cameroonian forces carried out joint patrol.

Heart Touching Story from Boko Haram War Front by a Soldier

If you come out there, you would come across Pulka, then by the left again, you would go to a place called Ngoshe. When you pass Gwoza, you will enter a village called Imankra, from there, you get to Madangali, after there, Mubi. These are parts of Adamawa, but again, these are all under 23 Brigade. So, we didn’t want to interfere with their activities.

So at Bama, the Cameroonians have a lot of Mine Resistance ambush protection vehicles but we, as a battalion can boast of only one or two. However, the problem is that the Cameroonians don’t have the mind to resist attacks. So, when the insurgents attacked Kumshe, most of them fled. But Nigerian troops manned the vehicles which we used to dislodge them.
Nigerian troops rallied to flush out Boko Haram rag tag forces in Guzamala

The battle of Alargano

Alagano is the spiritual temple or Headquarters of Boko Haram. It is where they have their Imams, Mullas etc. During the battle that took place in November/December, last year, we surrounded the place and most of the insurgents fled under our heavy gun fire. But, their head, the Imam, stood.  We were shooting him but bullets couldn’t penetrate him.

At a point, we had to move the car and hit him down, and then we used other weapons like rod, to inflict physical injuries on him. Eventually, we took him for questioning to the command, from there, they took him to Abuja for further interrogation and after then, we didn’t hear anything again.

The battle of Gudumbali

“Gudungali is the headquarters of Guzamala local government area. Those guys came In about 17 to 18 gun trucks at dawn and started shooting and chanting Alahu Akbah. They entered all places and dislodged our troops, soldiers and civilians were all running. It wasn’t a sudden ambush, but a deliberate attack. You could say you are prepared, but, when there is fire power that overwhelms you, it becomes difficult.

They continued to shoot, we tried our best, but at a point, there was no more ammunition. So, the troops started to retreat from Guzamala to Gudumbali, about seven kilometres on foot with civilians. We tried our best, we stood for about seven to eight hours with those guys, but, when it was dusk, we ran. They had excess ammunition to waste. When they are attacking they don’t conserve ammunition or observe fire discipline. So, they took over the area temporarily. But, by morning when our fighter jet came, we dislodged them.

The story of Bama – How Boko Haram took our gun trucks away

For over three years, I have been there, we don’t advance during rainy season. This is because of the bad terrain. We were then surprised when we got an order to advance during rainy season. Our vehicles were bogged down. So, when the vehicle got bogged down, our commander said troops should come down. We tried to push but we couldn’t. We used our legs to advance. So, when those Boko Haram insurgents came and over powered us, we fled and left those vehicles.

The next day, when the special armed forces battalion was sent there, they saw that the insurgents moved those vehicles that were bogged down. We saw the footprints of cattle and it was obvious that they tied ropes to the necks of cows and used them to pull the vehicles. That was how they took the eight gun trucks. Most times on that location, we could see them using the same trucks. When, they capture the trucks they will put Arabic inscriptions on them.

Trying moments of our lives

If you ask me, I can’t tell you exactly, but they used to carry out attack on troop’s Locations, and they do come at dawn or dusk, and those times have always been the trying moments of our lives. If it is day time from seven in the morning to six in the evening, you can have your peace. From six, that is what we call stand to, everybody will be on the watch out. If they don’t attack you at dawn, they will attack by dusk, you will see them coming en mass.

They have this pattern of attacking, some will come from the north, while some, from the south, some, from west and some from the east in hundreds and overwhelming. After they must have done recognizance, for instance, if they find out you are twenty or thirty there, they will come in two or three hundred.

Success in raiding

That is what beats my imagination till today because, these are people we tag as bunch of rascals, how come they seem to, permits me to say, have that superior intelligence in carrying out recognizance? what are you telling us?

Plane dropping ammunition

Sometimes, in that Gwoza axis and Rann area, you see aircraft dropping ammos and when you want to engage them, your commanding officer will say Mr. Man, you are not authorized to shoot, that plane is from UN, which means the International community is also aiding them. That is where the political undertone comes in now.

Soldiers killing civilians?

Those allegations are unfounded and untrue. As an insider and active participant, you can’t say soldiers are killing people indiscriminately. For example, we go to a particular village now, and in the village, everybody there is armed. You are shooting at me, and I am shooting at you. If eventually my bullet hits you first, how can you now say I am killing you?

Because even in the rules of engagement in Geneva convention, in the International standard, the military best practice all over the world, a civilian holding a gun, shooting at you, is no more a civilian, and the use of deadly force is advised. It is kill or be killed, so, no iota of truth in that.

Heart Touching Story from Boko Haram War Front by a Soldier

Major constraints in fighting insurgents.

The major constraint is 1: The political leadership and the military leadership are not sincere. If they are, Boko Haram would have been a thing of the past, and let me tell you, if you were conversant with current happenings, in our theater of operation a few days ago, there was an attack that was foiled by the Nigerian Airforce at a location called Tuburego.

Through Intelligence Surveillance and Recognizance, ISR, they saw gun trucks coming towards our location in Damasak. The Airforce now contacted the Ground to Air (GTA) troop, those people said it was the enemy, they sent helicopter gunship there. Out of the eight gun trucks, the helicopter gunship wiped five off. The remaining three ran away. We now called for the fighter jet, the fighter jet came and traced those three that ran back where they converged under an umbrella tree.

The fighter jet now dislodged them there. Then, we discovered that was a makeshift camp. So, you can see what we achieved by taken such proactive measure? Why have they not been doing it? You can see they have saved a lot of lives that could have died that day because, if those guys had come in contact with our troop, there would have been exchange, and many lives would have been lost. Imagine, if it were the Boko haram who had those gun shifts, what do you think could have happened to Nigeria as whole?

READ:   Heart Touching Story from Boko Haram War Front by a Soldier PART2 HERE

Credit to: Vangurad Ngr

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