A statement on official website of the Nigeria military, defenceinfo.mil.ng, stated that the Nigerian troops had to submit their weapons to the Cameroonian authorities to show that they were not on any offensive against the country in line with standard practice.
It added that the troops were on their way to Nigeria after the matter was sorted out by the authorities of both countries.
The statement added that it was wrong to describe the presence of the soldiers in Cameroon as defection in view of discussions between the military leaderships of Nigeria and Cameroon and contacts made with the soldiers about their safety.
It said, “The Nigerian troops that were found in Cameroon was as a result of a sustained battle between the troops and the terrorists around the borders with Cameroon which saw the Nigerian troops charging through the borders in a tactical manoeuvre.
“Eventually they found themselves on Cameroonian soil. Being allies the normal protocol of managing such incident demanded that the troops submit their weapons in order to assure the friendly country that they were not on a hostile mission.
“Following necessary discussions between Nigerian and Cameroonian military authorities, the issues have been sorted out. Subsequently, the troops are on their way back to join their unit in Nigeria.
“The reference to the incidence as a defection is therefore not appropriate considering the discussion between the two countries’ military leadership and the series of contacts with the soldiers who have confirmed that they are safe.”
The statement added that troops encountered a group of insurgents who were attempting to enter the country through Gamboru Ngala in a gun battle and were still in pursuit of them.
“Meanwhile, troops are repelling a group of terrorists who are trying to enter the country through Gamboru Ngala. A group of them who fizzled into the town are being pursued,” it added.