Nigeria Army Moves to Unravel the Desertion of Another 400 Soldiers into Cameroon
The military high command moved fast to unravel the circumstances surrounding the reported desertion of another 400 soldiers into the Cameroonian territory a few days ago.
Cameroon’s military claimed yesterday that the Nigerian soldiers are seeking refuge in the country after fleeing from battle with Boko Haram militants in Borno State.
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ), sources said, is trying to reach commanders at the “battle front” and may contact Cameroon for details of the matter.
Though the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, was said to have told the military high command that there was no case of desertion, the DHQ is determined to ascertain the veracity of the claim.
A source said: “The Defence Headquarters is looking into the claim by Cameroonian Army which is yet to get in touch with us.
“So far, the GOC and other officers have claimed that no such incident was reported by troops at the battle front. We have asked them to crosscheck.
“We are trying to link up with various units and Cameroon to ascertain the veracity of a report by an international medium.
“If it is true, this is the worst form of desertion and it is wrong. If it is true, we are suspecting that the way the first desertion was reported might have encouraged this batch.”
Cameroon state radio, the soldiers arrived at the Cameroonian border town of Amchide, where they handed their weapons to military officials.
Cameroon military spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck told the Voice of America (VOA) that the soldiers were accepted in the spirit of fighting Boko Haram alongside Nigerian forces.
Speaking in French, Badjeck described challenging situations in war that cause troops to flee, adding that Cameroon had demonstrated that it is a nation that assumes its responsibility to those in harm’s way.
Last week 480 Nigerian soldiers crossed over to Cameroon, ostensibly in “hot pursuit of Boko Haram militants.” Two-hundred forty-six of them have since returned to Nigeria, Badjeck said.
The DHQ said the development was a tactical manouevre but has made no comment on the latest movement of soldiers across the border.
In May, Cameroon’s Information Minister said President Paul Biya and President Goodluck Jonathan, had been communicating as part of a collaborative effort to defeat Boko Haram by sharing intelligence and allowing troops to pursue militants across borders if necessary.
Last night, the Federal Government directed massive supply of relief materials to more than 30,000 displaced persons from Bama who are in Maiduguri.
A team from the National Emergency Management Agency(NEMA) will deliver the relief items on today.
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