Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, the theatre commander in north-eastern Nigeria, told a news conference on Thursday that military authorities have confirmed that some soldiers were selling arms and ammunition to Boko Haram. He called it a betrayal of the Nigerian people.
He gave no more details. The admission comes three weeks after the Nigerian army said a military tribunal is trying 16 officers and troops accused of offenses related to the fight against Boko Haram, including the theft and sale of ammunition.
A soldier on the frontline of the fight told The Associated Press that his brigade commander is among officers standing trial at the court-martial in this north-eastern city, which is being held in secret. He said the army is investigating what happened to 21 anti-aircraft guns assigned this year to his artillery brigade. – AP
This situation shows a large scale lack of patriotism which unfortunately, is the one prevalent sentiment across the entire country. In addition to investigating the supply of arms and ammunition, the military must also do more to track and prevent their uniforms from flooding the society. Recent trends indicate that more and more criminals and crimes across the country are being perpetrated by individuals in military uniforms.
Boko Haram Factions Are Fighting Themselves
There is said to be in-fighting among the two Boko Haram factions: The Shekau faction and the ISIS-backed al-Barnawi faction. According to sources, “The Barnawi faction launched an offensive against the Shekau faction who were camped in the villages of Yele and Arafa. In Yele, the assailants killed three people from the Shekau camp, injured one and took one with them, while several were killed in Arafa. Fighters from Barnawi camp had the previous day attacked gunmen loyal to Shekau in Zuwa village in nearby Marte district, killing an unspecified number.
The Barnawi fighters told villagers after each attack that they were fighting the other camp because they had derailed from the true jihad and were killing innocent people, looting their property and burning their homes, they said such acts contravene the teachings of Islam and true jihad.”.
Other sources stated that there was a similar in-fighting among the two Boko Haram camps two weeks ago. “There was a fierce gun battle in the Abadam area of Borno state, near the border with Niger, where Shekau’s fighters were routed, it was a deadly fight and Shekau’s fighters were forced to flee. Hundreds of residents of the villages and their herds taken hostage by the fleeing fighters were allowed to go about their normal lives by the Barnawi faction.
It is possible that this infighting is taking place as a result of the fatal strikes against Shekau which has rendered his followers devoid of a leader. Al-Barnawi may be taking advantage of this void to defeat Shekau’s followers once and for all, show mercy to the locals thereby winning their support, and establish himself and his group as the true followers of Islam.