War On Terror: We Need Minesweepers – Soldiers Cry Out
There are reports that troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east are experiencing serious hardship following the inability of the Federal Government to provide them with minesweepers.
Saturday Vanguard investigations showed that Boko Haram insurgents planted mines along major roads and bush paths which impeded troops’ movements.
It was gathered that for troops to move from one location to another, they had to resort to the use of hand-held mines detectors.
A soldier who spoke to Saturday Vanguard on the condition of anonymity said that they lacked minesweepers which saved more lives unlike the hand-held mines detectors currently in use.
It was also learned that the troops lacked helicopter gunships needed to fight in deserts.
Another soldier who has spent two years at the war front said that most of his colleagues were “suffering from war trauma” as they had not seen their families for a long period. As he put it, “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.” the source said.
Confirming the report, a top military source 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.
The source hinted Saturday Vanguard 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.