Army denies alleged protest by anti-terror troops over water



• Buratai pledges better logistics supply
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai yesterday admitted deficiency in logistics supply to troops fighting insurgency in the North East, but denied any misbehavior to their commander by the soldiers over the challenge.

Gen. Buratai, who said there were various challenges threatening the effective protection of the nations territorial integrity as constitutionally mandated, assured the troops in the North East of sustained logistics supply.

It was reported in the media last week that the soldiers, after recovering Alagarno, one of the strategic forests in North East, from insurgents could not get water to drink. And on sighting their commander, they protested, preventing him from boarding a waiting helicopter that was to take him back to base, but later released him, when another helicopter brought water.

The Army authorities issued a rejoinder “acknowledging that indeed troops that captured the strategic forest of Alagarno experienced some logistics problem that include water shortage, due to some unforeseen circumstances which is normal in war situation, it is not true that the troops behaved in the manner stated.”

Buratai, in his remarks at the COAS first Quarter Conference 2016 in Abuja yesterday, said: “No doubt we have numerous challenges confronting us in the course of discharging our constitutional roles. But let me assure you, my officers and soldiers, that I have tabled all issues before Mr. President and the National Assembly.

“The logistics deficiencies which have hindered the optimal conduct of the Nigerian Army’s counter-insurgency operations in the past are being addressed.

“Let me reiterate that I have issued sustainment and logistics directives for Operation Lafiya Dole and have, to a large extent, made resources available to meet operational requirements for effectiveness. I have also taken necessary steps to ensure the optimum utilization of scarce resources while we await the delivery of more platforms.

The Army boss expressed confidence that with the caliber of soldiers Nigeria has, as evident in the effort made to ensure that the country overcome the current challenges, with appreciable progress made in countering insurgency, a better equipped and well motivated army would be more professionally responsive in the discharge of the constitutional duties owed the Nigerian people.

While stating that the Nigeria Army Aviation Corps would still take off as the preparation are in progress, Buratai said the Army would acquire its own platforms, as the training of 10 pilots is ongoing at the International Helicopter Flying School (IHFS) Enugu.

According to him, the pilots were billed to graduate in December last year, but due to some hitches they could not complete the course, they would finish before the end of May 2016.

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