Nigeria’s chief of army staff, Ibrahim Attahiru, has said that it is normal for soldiers to lose equipment to the enemy in a war situation.
General Attahiru said the attendant losses of men and equipment in Northeast Nigeria does not prevent troops from winning the war.
Mr Attahiru, a lieutenant general, said this on Thursday in Maiduguri Borno state while on a visit to the front line after a messy attack on troop’s base in Mainok village.
General Attahiru had so far visited Borno state five times since he became army chief. Three out of the visits were in response to insurgents attack on troop’s location and seizures of territory by the insurgents.
At Mainok, suspected members of the armed opposition group, best known as Boko Haram, attacked the operational base of 156 Task Force Battalion, during which at least 18 soldiers, including an officer, died.
General Attahiru who arrived on Maiduguri on Wednesday evening, visited the Military Command and Control Center of Operation Lafiya Dole Thursday where he had a closed-door meeting with the troops’ commander during which he was briefed by the Theater Commander.
Journalists were not part of the closed-door meeting.
At the end of the meeting, the COAS told the press that his visit was a routine one and he was happy with the performance of his soldiers.
“The constant touch with troops and their commanders in the field is of the essence for every military operation, especially in a counter-insurgency environment,” he said.
“The essence is to reassure the troops, get to hear from them if they do have issues they want us to discuss; it could be that of logistics, it could that of deployment, and then reassure them that Mr President, as the commander in chief, is aware of all they are doing here and he would do his best to provide the needed resources to execute this war to a logical conclusion.”
‘This, indeed, is not just this theatre, but any theatre that the Nigerian army is operating.
The COAS said recent setbacks in Mainok and Geidam are not signs of Boko Haram winning over the Nigerian forces.
“In a military operation this is a norm,” he said.
“We have defeated Boko Haram severally. And if for one time they came to attack and we lose some equipment, even though we were never defeated, I can assure you that we will overcome, notwithstanding whatever had happened.
“We will take on Boko Haram decisively, and we are committed to the focus of the entire operation which is of course the total annihilation of Boko Haram from Nigeria.”
The army chief later visited some of the troops’ location at Molai, 5km away from the main city of Maiduguri, where he addressed the troops.