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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Gwoza Wives Protest: Dont Send Our Husbands To Fight With Old Weapons


Angry wives of soldiers in the 7 Division of the Nigeria Army in Maiduguri yesterday staged a subtle mutiny as they stood against the deployment of their husbands to Gwoza with obsolete arms, insider military sources revealed to LEADERSHIP Sunday.

The 7 Division had wanted a fresh set of soldiers to go to Gwoza and rescue the seized town from the Boko Haram terrorists who are holding sway in that part of the state
Following the sack of Gwoza by Boko Haram terrorists on Wednesday, soldiers in the Maimalari and Giwa barracks under the 7 Division had confirmed that more than 50 soldiers were given a mass burial at the Maimalari barracks yesterday afternoon.
The sight of those soldiers killed in action by Boko Haram due to what many soldiers said was poor and obsolete equipment had however irked many wives and wards of the soldiers who believed that their husbands and fathers were being pushed to the slaughter with faulty weapons that didnt match the sophistication of the Boko Haram terrorists.
While the women in the barracks joined their women colleagues who had been turned to widows to mourn the death of their husbands, the 7 Division was said to have announced the deployment of yet another batch of soldiers to return to Gwoza.
While some of the soldiers who had demonstrated the willingness to combat the Boko Haram if given better equipment expressed their non-readiness to obey the order, hundreds of wives and children of the soldiers took to the streets of the barracks to stop such order until the authorities equipped their husbands with better arms and vehicles.
The women in Giwa barracks of the 21 Armoured Brigade, Maiduguri, barricaded the roads leading out of the barracks while some went and locked the main entrance gate of the barracks, locking out everyone. They insisted that none of their husbands or men would go out of the barracks in respect of Gwoza.
Some of the women and children were heard chanting We no go gree o, we no go gree!
LEADERSHIP Sunday was told that when the regimental sergeant major (RSM) and the garrison commander tried to stop them from protesting, the women turned their anger towards them even as the two officers alongside other ranked soldiers had to take to their heels.
Though the barracks was made inaccessible to civilians at the time of the protest, which dragged up to the late evening hours, some of the angry soldiers who shared the sentiments of the women were able to brief some journalists on the development.
Showing the video and photographs of what was going on in the barracks, as captured in their camera phones, some non-commissioned ranked soldiers said the women are right; we have no better weapons; most of our rifles are obsolete, most of our vehicles are not serviceable, yet they want to us to and face the Boko Haram who are armed with modern equipment.
One of the soldiers, whose name and rank cannot be mentioned, for his own safety and job security, said, Look at my rifle; even if you are not a professional, you will notice that it has long seen better days; at times when we fire they dont respond; when we complain no one listens. Our superiors would only tell you gentlemen lets go without caring if we are well armed; that is why we always record massive casualty most of the time we go on operation.
Gwoza residents protest gov negligence
Members of Gwoza community in Maiduguri as well as those residing in the captured community currently under the conquest of the Boko Haram terrorists had yesterday staged a massive protest that turned out bloody.
A trigger happy police officer at the Government House Maiduguri fired some shots at the protesters that landed a 26 years old man in the intensive care unit of the University of Maiduguri Teaching hospital where doctors are still battling to save him from bullet injury in his skull.
The protesters who are members of Gwoza were lamenting the plight of their displaced people, some of whom have died but not buried, and many others still held up in the mountains starving to death.
The soldiers in Gwoza had since retreated back to Maiduguri after Boko Haram gunmen had attacked them, killing scores and taking over most of their abandoned weapons.
The protesters, who stormed the streets of Maiduguri in their multitudes, defied the police order that such protest must not hold.
Most them were women who dared police officers to shoot at them until they made their way to the gate of the government house Maiduguri where attempted to enter before the police man opened fired that brought the 26 years old man down.
Undeterred by the near tragedy, the protesters stood their grounds for hours, until they were later allowed into the precinct of the Deputy Governors office where they also waited to be attended.
But when the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Zanna Umar Mustapha, showed up to receive them, the procession went wild in anger as they accused the state government of being partial on tribal lines to send them the Deputy who is of Southern Borno when the state governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, was in town.
Efforts to pacify them failed, until the Deputy Governor later pleaded that he would ensure the governor attended to them if they would conduct themselves well.
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