The inability of the Federal Government to provide the troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east with minesweepers is putting them in harm’s way and making them experience serious hardship, reports have said.
This is because Boko Haram insurgents have been covering their tracks with mines with major roads and bush paths that lead to them all rigged with mines to impede the movement of the military. With minesweepers unavailable, soldiers have resulted to the use of handheld mine detectors which is very inefficient and dangerous.
Vanguard checks revealed that the troops also lacked helicopter gunships needed to fight in deserts.
A soldier who has spent two years at the war front told Vanguard that most of his colleagues were “suffering from war trauma” as they had not seen their families for a long period.
“We have been in the battlefield for two years or more without being changed and war trauma has set in. Our families are ruined and many of us have been deserted by our wives. The thought of our wives deserting or our children getting involved in crimes is enough to trigger trouble for some of us.
“Again, not much has changed since former President Goodluck Jonathan left office in case of arms supply.
“Sometimes, we borrow arms from other units which are not involved in any operations to fight the insurgents.
“If you borrow such arms and go to fight the enemies, such units will stay without any arms to defend themselves in case of sudden attacks and only God knows what may happen in the event of such circumstances occurring,” Vanguard quoted the source to have said.
According to Vanguard, a top military source confirmed the report. He said yesterday that the use of hand-held mines detectors, though slow, was the safest way for now, of dealing with the mines threat especially at the Gulak, Madagali, Gwoza axis of the north-east that stretches to Cameroon.
However, he said that a European nation recently visited by President Muhammadu Buhari had concluded plans to send mines-sweepers to Nigeria.
“I can assure you that as soon as these sweepers arrive, the story will change and with strategies already in place, Boko Haram will have no place to hide,” the source said.