Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade
Says alleged ‘mercenaries’ are technical advisers
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The military has disclosed that the ongoing cordon and search by troops in Buni Yadi in Yobe State has led to the discovery of a bomb making factory, where improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used by terrorists were being produced.
In a related development, senior military commanders have described the ‘mercenaries’ in the North-east as technical advisers providing trainings and instructions on the use of new armaments recently procured by the Nigerian military in the war on terror.
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade in a statement yesterday said that a large quantity of IEDs including those commonly used by suicide bombers was recovered from the Yobe State site.
Olukolade said that the factory, located in a fertilizer company, had also converted some of the materials therein for production of all types of IEDs.
He revealed that the troops were still evacuating the materials which include a large quantity of suicide bomber vests from the facility to their base.
“It is believed that the heavy calibre bomb used in blowing up the bridge between Damaturu and Buni Yadi was produced in the factory”, he stated.
According to Olukolade, the terrorists were sacked from Buni Yadi after a military assault that was conducted last Saturday.
He noted that the troops advance was delayed by the series of IEDs planted on the highway leading to Buni Yadi.
The Defence Spokesman also comfirmed that four soldiers died from such IEDs in the course of the operation to clear terrorists from the town.
This discovery, he said, was expected to degrade the capability of terrorists in the production of explosives, which they have been using lavishly in the area until they were dislodged from their stronghold.
In a related development, senior military commanders have described stories in major international media and culled by local newspapers reporting that Nigeria is deploying hundreds of mercenaries against Boko Haram terrorists as a joke taken too far.
The officers insisted that the foreigners are technical advisers that are providing trainings and instructions on the use of new armaments recently procured by the Nigerian military in the war on terror.
Some top commanders who spoke with PRNigeria disclosed that it was part of the propaganda to paint Nigerian military as incompetent to deal with the insurgency by desperately ascribing recent spate of successes to ‘others’ rather than the gallant troops’ efforts.
“We are so pissed by the lack of support from the local press which gleefully reproduces unfounded reports carried by western press, all in a bit to bring down the Nigerian military. It is so frustrating that there is no support of our effort by our local press. I am at a loss, why? We derive pleasure in reporting falsehood in a bit to undermine Nigeria military”.
The source recalled that only recently, some news agencies ascribed such successes to Cameroonian, Nigerien and “battle hardened” Chadian forces but when it became obvious that the forces of those countries were mainly fighting along their own border areas blocking free movement of terrorists, “it became necessary to look for others” who are helping Nigerians to fight.
President Goodluck Jonathan was recently quoted in an interview with Voice of America (VOA) confirming that Nigeria has some trainers helping to get troops well acquainted with the recently acquired weaponry.
According to Jonathan, “we now have this technical people who are trainers and technicians, who are to train our people on how to use them, and technicians that help the maintenance, at the same time training our people how to maintain this equipment,” adding that two companies were involved in the training.
When contacted on the story that mercenaries are fighting the battle for Nigeria, Olukolade said, “Sorry, I don’t have anything about that claim. I just know that Nigerian military and security forces are putting in all their resources, training and experience acquired over the years to address the security challenges.
“Our neighbours operating under the auspices of the Multinational Joint Task Force are also backing our efforts from all our borders with them. We also have some offer of training and intelligence assistance from foreign countries. Some of these arrangements even predate the present operations.”