By Ndahi Marama
Maiduguri—Few hours after some troops deployed to Borno on counter insurgency operations fired shots at the official vehicle of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division, Maiduguri, Major General Ahmadu Mohammed as he attempted to address them, Defence Headquarters, yesterday, announced his immediate redeployment.
The Defence Headquarters, which described the shooting incident as sad, has also launched a military inquiry.
It will be recalled that last Wednesday, some soldiers were reported to have fired shots at the official vehicle of the GOC when he came to the Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri on a sympathy visit. There were also reports that the GOC’s aides who tried to protect him during the shooting incident were injured in the process.
Confirming the GOC’s redeployment yesterday, Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, at a briefing in Maiduguri said: “The GOC has been redeployed based on the decision of the headquarters.”
He assured that the redeployment of the GOC will not affect the ongoing anti terrorism war of the Nigerian military. “Let me assure that the military will sustain the current tempo in the fight against insurgents. The training of the Nigerian Army is such that this kind of change will not affect negatively the disposition of the troops in the fight against agents of insurgency in the country,” Olukolade said.
He denied media reports that the GOC was wounded during the incident. “The GOC or his aides were not wounded during the incident. Let me say again that nobody was injured during the incident,” he said.
He described the incident as sad saying, “the Nigerian Army is poised to uphold its principle of discipline and loyalty to service.”
Explaining how the incident took place, Olukolade, said: “On May 13, our troops who had been on an assignment in Chibok and had been patrolling were returning to Maiduguri when they were ambushed in Dalwa few kilometres to the city. One officer and five soldiers were killed, while a number of others were wounded. The division embarked on the normal recovery processes to recover the wounded soldiers for treatment and to evacuate the bodies of those killed to the morgue.
“The General Officer Commanding (GOC) was touched by the incident, so he wanted to sympathise with the troops by addressing those present. In the process some soldiers became unruly and began to fire some shots into the air. The situation was quickly brought under control and normalcy restored as there was calm in the cantonment and all normal operational activities are ongoing.”
Announcing the setting up of a military inquiry to investigate the incident, Olukolade said: “It is not in the character of the Nigerian soldier to be unruly. The inquiry will come out with the exact situation of things upon which the military authorities will take the next action. The ongoing inquiry will provide a lasting solution to what happened on May 13”.
The Defence Spokesman, however, did not disclose the composition of the panel of inquiry or when the panel is expected to conclude its investigation. He said it was an internal affair that will be handled internally. Vanguard gathered that Major General Ahmadu Mohammed has been replaced with Brigadier General Mahmud Yakubu Ibrahim as Acting GOC and that Ibrahim’s appointment is with immediate effect.