Tension in Maiduguri as angry soldiers shoot into air
THERE is rising tension in Maiduguri as a branch of soldiers of the special forces of the Nigerian Army fired bullets into the airspace at the Maiduguri international airport as a form of resistance to new postings by their superiors.
The angry soldiers fatigued by war rented the entire airport space down to the Bomari airforce area from about six pm till about 8 pm Sunday evening sending some commuters scampering for safety thinking there was an ongoing struggle between them and insurgents in the airport area.
Reliable military sources told the Tribune Online that the gunshots heard were indeed special forces some of whom have spent over two to three years in the war theatre fighting Boko Haram with an expected target to pull out.
“They are equally aware that it was because of the recent tragedy, were dozens of our soldiers were ambushed creating a vacuum, they were now asked to go and hold the line along ‘operations last hold’ especially along Marte along the Lake Chad axis where the current theatre commander General Abba Dikko was the Field Commander.
“They went to the airport quite all right but after ruminating about their plight and the statutory timeline the Chief had promised them, they decided to fight against what they described as their relocation to Marte.
“They alleged when we put a call to one of them that the relocation to Marte was done in bad faith because there was already a signal from the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Tukur Buratai directing all personnel who had spent three to four years within the Theatre of Operations to be transferred out of the Northeast and not within it.
“So why are our commanders sending them to go back to a battle they have fought and have become wary about above all the Chief had blessed their withdrawal? They surely want them to be killed because these ones have a different mindset now and they want to go home after serving their country.
“We are just coming in and some of us were transferred from Port Harcourt after our training in Pakistan. So our case is different but those guys have a justifiable reason to be angry. If the army lacks personnel, they should hurry up and recruit and retrain and be very careful how they handle this war because what some of us are seeing may take a very long time to quench.” Said our source.
Meanwhile, the staccato-like shootings into the air started Saturday night at 202 housing estate opposite the University of Maiduguri then moved on to Bama road between nine and ten pm in the night.
Many Keke napep boys who were seen outside washing their tricycles scampered into their makeshift stalls where they sleep so that the stray bullets will not affect them.
Residents along Bama road, Mairi, Unimaid, London Chiki, customs logos street and Abaganaran had to rush into their homes on hearing the noise of the bullets which they thought was an imminent raid from the Boko Haram insurgents of the state capital.
No official statement has been heard yet from the spokesperson of operations Lafia Dole Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu at the time of writing this report.