BREAKING: Soldiers reportedly shoot in the air, ground Maiduguri Airport
Reports from Borno are that soldiers of the Special Force deployed to the northern state for the counterinsurgency operation have grounded the airport in the capital Maiduguri.
Daily Sun reports that the aggrieved soldiers have been shooting at the airport.
According to the reports, the soldiers had barricaded the airport gate since 6:15 p.m and later began firing shots sporadically into the air and forcing many residents around the area to flee.
The newspaper alleged that the shootings were protests against redeployment of the soldiers from Maiduguri to another location at the northern part of the state.
It reported further that the soldiers claimed they were deployed to Borno since February 2015 and ought to have been released to return to their original unit after serving three years at the theatre on counter-Boko Haram operation.
“We left our families for almost four years now. Ordinarily, we should have been released to return to our unit having spent three years in this theatre. But we were told this evening by our superior officers to start park our things and prepare for redeployment to Marte (northern Borno).
“We feel this is unfair and against what the Chief of Army Staff has always said that any soldier who has spent three years in the theatre will be relieved and allow to return to his unit. This is unfair,” one of the protesting soldier claimed.
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On its part, TheCable reports that the aggrieved soldiers reportedly arrived at the airport at 6pm ahead of their posting to Marte local government area but refused to board the airplane because they preferred to return home after fighting Boko Haram insurgents for over three years.
The online news platform quoted an officer who witnessed the incident as saying that superior officers, including Bulami Biu, general officer commander (GOC) of 7 division, were asked to stay off the airport or risk being shot.
“The second batch of pilgrims from Borno boarded their flight amid the commotion,” the source said. “The special forces are ready for trouble. They are really angry. The superiors were asked to stay off or be killed.”
This incident comes just days after NAIJ.com reported that dozens of Borno state hunters disclosed their willingness to lock down Sambisa forest and capture the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group Abubakar Shekau.
The development was made public by the organizing secretary of the hunters, Bukar Mustapha, in a chat with an online platform.
Mustapha said that the hunters had 30 years of experience hunting in the forest; and as such, were familiar with its nooks and crannies.
Soldier shares battleground experience, dedicates song to colleagues – on NAIJ.com TV