A new report has it that the Nigerian troops sent to battle the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East are making use of out of date weapons and equipment, which include the faulty Shilka guns gotten by the administration of late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, between 1979 and 1983 when he was the Nigeria president.
One of the military head lamented that “The Shilka guns they’re using to fight were purchased about 40 years ago and are definitely outdated with most of the component missing. Yet, they were given to fight the anti-insurgency war in the North East and obviously they will fail.
“The Boko Haram sects and the ISWAP fighters make use of the latest technology to attack us, and the president testified to it at the ECOWAS meeting about a week ago that how are the terrorists getting more sophisticated weapons is a question to be answered.”
Another top military officer said, “The weapons in their cadre were purchased close to the 2015 general election by former President Goodluck ‘Jonathan’s administration, which they were able to use to regain some territories. Unfortunately, some of these tanks are without spare parts.
“On different occasions, we use one to fix the other; eventually they were moved out of operation because they have no spare parts. At the moment, we use Vickers MBT (Vickers Main Battle Tanks) which happens to be much more older.”
Another officer said, “These ISWAP fighters are well upgraded regarding technology as well as in training, and it is clearly feasible with the way they attack us. They make use of drones; they make use of night vision goggles and thermal detectors, and they are very innovative.”
A top officer revealed that the soldiers don’t delay in withdrawing troops because they make use of inferior weapons.
“Let me even shock you; there are times the insurgents come with handcuffs, with the notion of capturing soldiers alive, because when we kill them, we see those things. In each of their operation areas, they have suicide bombing squads that move around with them; they have medical teams and engineering teams to manufacture make-shift bridges if they have to cross obstacles or repair any damaged vehicle during the attack. They also have a casualty recovery team that evacuates their dead and injured colleagues during attacks.