…As Nigerian Army Claims Boko Haram Fighters Are not Better Equipped Than Its Troops
A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter crashed in combat on Wednesday night while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak in Northern Borno State.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, Director of Public Relations and Information disclosed this, but he did not disclose the model of the helicopter or how many personnel were inside it at the time the crash happened. Nigerian Air Force has over a dozen of Russian made helicopters, MMil Mi-17 and Mil Mi-24 models.
Daramola said the aircraft was involved in the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East.
“The incident, occurred about 7:45 pm today, 2 January 2019. Details of the cause of the crash are still scanty”, he said.
“As soon as the details of the crash are known, they will be made available to the public”, Daramola added.
The loss happened hours after Daramola informed the nation that
The Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE destroyed a building being used as meeting venue by Boko Haram fighters near Baga in Northern Borno State.
“The attack”, he said, “was conducted 1 Jan 2019, after series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions confirmed that the building was being used as an assembly point by the terrorists. Consequently, the ATF dispatched a NAF Alpha Jet aircraft to attack the building.”
“A direct hit was recorded on the target leading to significant damage to the structure and neutralisation of the occupants”, he added.
But the Nigerian Army has debunked reports that the Boko Haram terrorist fighters are better equipped than its soldiers, dismissing them as propaganda and psychological warfare against troops.
Army spokesman, Brigadier-General Sani Kukasheka Usman, in a statement that addresses various issues and concerns about the ongoing counter-insurgency war in Nigeria’s north east, accused some misguided elements in the society of waging psychological warfare against it.
Usman said military issues are not all comers’ affairs and lamented that the ongoing counter terrorism operations were being trivialised and politicised for selfish reasons.
“Unfortunately, the psychological attacks are not being waged against the Nigerian army by the Boko Haram terrorists alone, but also by some misguided elements both within and out of the country.’’
Usman noted that most of the false allegations being levelled against the army were based on selfish and mostly political reasons by unpatriotic elements.
“In spite of extant rules, these groups of persons discuss highly classified military issues which they are mostly ignorant about on various media platforms.
“Indeed, those who should know better are the ones perpetrating these acts.
“The psychological effects of spreading misinformation and fake news are grievous and inimical to national security and should not be allowed to continue.’’
Usman said that conduct prejudicial to military discipline and cowardice as being exhibited by few misguided soldiers should not be misconstrued as a failure on the part of the military or the government.
He said military equipment and welfare were known issues in the Nigerian army but that when such problems were observed, “appropriate steps are taken to remedy them.’’
According to him, the army will always address its challenges and take charge of any issue without any external prompting, criticism or condemnation.
The army spokesman noted that some individuals and groups in and outside Nigeria have been making false claims and allegations that Boko Haram terrorists were better equipped than the Armed Forces Nigeria.
He said: “Nothing can be further from the truth as the armed forces of Nigeria have universally accepted doctrines, better trained, equipped and well motivated.
“Therefore, there is no basis for comparison between the Nigerian soldier and the Boko Haram terrorists.’’
Usman said the recent attacks on troops by the terrorists were not as a result of superior arms or equipment.
Rather, he said, it was due to the use of psychological weapon “which is as good as any lethal weapons.’’
“The psychological attacks have been further aggravated by some unpatriotic elements in the society that take joy and pride in propagating such falsehoods.
“It is surprising that some Nigerians, for whatever mundane reasons, would compare a group of confused and misguided elements operating under the influence of drugs and warped ideologies to Nigerian army troops.
“It will be necessary to observe that unlike the Nigerian army, the terrorists live amongst the populace and used that opportunity to spread their propaganda.
“Nigerian army fights according to set down Rule of Engagement, while the Boko Haram terrorists do not.
“Also, while the Nigerian army seeks to protect lives and properties, the renegades seek to destroy same,’’ he said.
Usman said that the army was convinced that those negative comments against it were aimed at demoralising its troops and break their cohesion.
“They (comments) are borne out of selfish, political and unpatriotic reasons with a view to bringing down the government of the day.
“We totally condemn and reject the insinuations that the Boko Haram terrorists are better equipped than the Nigerian army.
“Rather, we are bold to say and re-affirm that Nigerian army troops are better trained, equipped and better motivated than the rag-tag terrorists.
“Indeed, there is no basis for comparison.
“It should be realised that the use of psychological attack on the army is as potent as the use of arms and ammunition,’’ Usman noted.
He expressed concern over recent negative reportage and criticisms of the army in the social and mainstream media, regarding equipment and attacks on troops’ locations in the North East, especially Borno North.