Fidelis Soriwei, Abuja
The Nigerian Army is holding two officers – a major and a captain – in connection with alleged sabotage of the ongoing counter-terrorism operations in the North-East.
A military source said on Wednesday that the Army authorities were intensifying efforts to rid the service of saboteurs in the ongoing counter-terrorism operations.
It was gathered that the Army commenced a painstaking but discreet investigations into the activities of some of its personnel following the Boko Haram attack on troops’ location in Gashigar, on October 22, 2016.
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, had said in a statement on Saturday that 13 soldiers were wounded during a surprise Boko Haram attack on troops at Gashigar in the north of Borno State.
Usman had stated that some soldiers were missing after the attack.
The statement did not give the exact number of those missing during the Gashigar attack.
It was learnt that both President Mohammadu Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, were alarmed by the Gashigar attack, which involved an entire unit.
It was gathered that the Army authorities decided to conduct a discreet investigation into the telephone conversation of some of the security personnel and their civilian counterparts and uncovered some suspicious activities through the screening.
A military source said on Wednesday that the Army was intensifying investigation to unravel two established cases against the arrested suspects, which were the leakage of information on troops’ movement to the insurgents and the raising of funds to finance Boko Haram operations through cattle rustling.
The source added, “The President was furious and discussed the matter with the COAS when some of the heads of that units were ambushed by the Boko Haram.
“The Army leadership took out time to screen the communications lines of the officers for several days without making it known.
“The suspicion was that they have links with some civilians and the links were traced. They are giving them vital information concerning the movement of soldiers.
“How come that the Borno State Governor and other officials have not been attacked, yet they ambushed the Chief of Army Staff. They have not attacked civilians but they attacked the COAS.”
When our correspondent contacted the Acting Army spokesman, he said investigation into the matter was ongoing.
He added that the Army would not release information on the matter in view of the fact that there was an ongoing planned rescue operation in the area.
He said, “Investigation is ongoing and once we conclude, the suspects would be arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction.”
Usman, who denied reports that 83 soldiers were missing in action, said the military did not lose any soldier to the Gashigar attack.
He, however, stated that the military suspects would be subject to military laws in accordance with the law.
Usman had said in a statement on Tuesday that a total of 32 persons, comprising two military officers, two soldiers, two policemen and 26 civilians were in custody for allegedly sabotaging the ongoing operations.