The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has circulated a set of operational guidelines warning Nigerian Army commanders of grave consequences should they abandon their positions in the face of firepower from Boko Haram insurgents.
The 180-word memo, sent to all commanders at all levels, formations and locations in the nine-year-long war against Islamist militants across Nigeria’s North-east, was a direct response to the recent killing and maiming of soldiers and officers by terrorists, amidst renewed fears of a resurgent Boko Haram.
At least two officers and 43 soldiers have been killed in Boko Haram attacks on military targets between July 13 and 26, a shocking setback that sent the country’s top military brass seething.
“Recent occurrences in” ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ “where units abandon their positions cowardly in the face of action” from Boko Haram terrorists “without reasonable resistance is worrisome,” Mr Buratai said in the July 27 memo to all commanders, adding that it “portrayed” them as “incompetent and cowardly”.
“It also has the potentials to rubbish all the laudable gains made” in the war against Boko Haram
“Consequently,” Mr Buratai, a lieutenant-general, said any commander who “abandons his position in the face” of enemy fire “leading to avoidable death of troops and loss of equipment will be subjected” to harsh punishments as enumerated in the Armed Forces Act.
“All should be reminded that the law recommended any officer or soldier found guilty of cowardly behavior ‘shall on conviction by a court martial be liable to suffer death or any less punishment provided by the Act,’ depending on the circumstances of the case.”