Boko Haram insurgents may have been gaining ground recently in their onslaughts against the Nigerian Military, but the deaths of soldiers in battle are usually laden with untold stories of the heroics of Nigerian troops.
As Saharareporters has now found out from a firsthand witness, when Boko Haram raided the Army’s base in Monguno, Borno State, in the last week of 2018, the soldier who was killed, lost his life in the most heroic of circumstances — and not until he had killed at least 14 Boko Haram insurgents.
“We were on ground when Boko Haram surprised us with a strike,” a soldier who escaped the attack unhurt told SaharaReporters on Thursday.
“The first thing we did was to run for cover. We ran until we arrived a location fenced with transparent barbed wire. The place was locked.”
The soldier driving the vehicle disembarked and fired at the padlock, paving the way for others to charge through the gate and run until they got to a parapet — “a straight, deep hole that you can take cover in” — where the assailants were hiding in their dozens.
“The Boko Haram insurgents were hiding inside,” said the soldier.
“That was how the driver came down from his own vehicle, collected his rifle, jumped into the parapet and started shooting those guys inside [the insurgents].
“He killed more than 14 Boko Haram insurgents before he died — more than 14. He was killing them and advancing. But there was one insurgent that he shot and thought had died; it was that one who eventually managed to shoot him in the back as he was advancing, otherwise he would have killed many more. He killed many of them already, more than 14.”
Only one soldier — that driver — died in that attack, while another was injured. But in an attack the same week when insurgents overtook Baga, killing many soldiers, with some 700 more missing, the story was entirely different.
“Nobody stood to fight. People ran away — because Boko Haram came with enough weapons. Those guys were holding good weapons. All those things that the Army says about weapons are fake; they are lying. They don’t have what Boko Haram has,” the soldier added.
“You cannot compare yourself holding a blunt knife and trying to fight someone with a sharp cutlass. Imagine, your knife is not long; and it’s not sharp. Now, your opponent has a long and sharp cutlass. The person will surely defeat you.
“So, that is the problem we’re facing; we don’t have weapons. Look at Baga, Boko Haram collected it from the Army. The most painful thing is that the brigade there had a guard room where both soldiers and Boko Haram were locked. When Boko Haram chased everyone away, they opened the guard room. What do you think they would have done to the soldiers in that guardroom? Kill them, of course!”