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Army in self-cleansing, may dismiss another 2000

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Authorities of the Nigerian Army have redeployed the Acting General Officer Commanding, 7th Infantry Division, Maiduguri, Maj.-Gen Mohammed Ibrahim.

Until his redeployment, Ibrahim presided over the various battles fought against Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East.

The authorities may also take a drastic decision to dismiss over more soldiers in the ongoing counter-terrorism operations in the North East.

Ibrahim was appointed to take over from his predecessor, Gen. Abubakar Mohammed, following the mutiny of soldiers in the division in May, 2014.
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The details of the posting are yet to be made public.

President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the creation of the 7th Infantry Division to carry out effective prosecution of the campaign against the insurgents in August, 2013.

Investigations by SUNDAY PUNCH showed that the soldiers to be dismissed, numbering about 2000, constituted of the strength of four battalions in the area.

They were said to be those on duty when Boko Haram overran major towns in Adamawa State in October, 2014.

The bulk of the soldiers are expected to get their dismissal letter this week.

It was learnt that the Army authorities had pulled out the soldiers and replaced them with men from other formations to prosecute the task of retaking the towns captured by Boko Haram in Adamawa.

The recaptured territories include the commercial city of Mubi, Michika, Madagali and Gulak.

The troops were said to have been withdrawn and kept at the headquarters of the 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Jos, where they await the military’s decision on them.

Although, the soldiers were paid their salaries for the two months while they remained in custody, the authorities had decided to stop their operational allowances.

A senior military personnel, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, stated on Saturday that the Army authorities were trying and dismissing the affected soldiers on allegation of cowardice.

The source also described the reported protest by the 227 dismissed soldiers in Jos as an attempt to blackmail the military leadership to drop the decision against them.

“I think Nigerians should allow the military to clean up the system; what they are doing is to blackmail the military leadership but you should know that the image of this country is at stake.”

Each of the soldiers involved in the ongoing counter-terrorism operations receives N1000 per day as operational allowance.

In a related development, SUNDAY PUNCH also learnt that the military authorities have commenced deployment of newly acquired attack helicopters in the North-East.

Some of the helicopters were deployed for aerial surveillance operations on Saturday in the Borno axis of the North-East, where most of the battles against the Boko Haram have been fought.

Our correspondent could not get the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen Olajide Laleye, to comment on the issues, as the calls to his mobile telephone line did not go through.

Also, Laleye had yet to respond to a text message requesting his response to the developments as of the time of filing this report.

Punch, January 18, 2015

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