No fewer than 183 personnel of the Nigerian military have paid the supreme price within six months – January to June, 2021 – in the line of their duties across the nation.
These deaths were among those reported in the media, which shows that the military personnel were killed by Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists, bandits, gunmen, hoodlums, cultists, armed robbers and other criminal elements.
The three Service of the Armed Forces of Nigeria – Army, Navy and Air Force, have deployed thousands of their personnel to over 30 States of the federation in the fight against terrorism, banditry and other operations in aid to civil authority.
Investigations by the Abuja-based Daily Trust shows that these soldiers were killed in different parts of the country, especially in Northern section with the Northeast region topping the chat.
The States where soldiers have been killed in their line of duty include Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Enugu, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa.
Under Section 217 of the Constitution as amended specifies that the Armed Forces can be deployed for the following reasons:
(i) for the defence of Nigeria from external aggression.
(ii) for the maintenance of the territorial integrity and securing the borders of Nigeria from violation on land, sea and air,
(iii) for suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President; subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
The troops support sister agencies like the Police, Civil Defence, Customs and Immigrations in Internal Security Operations (ISOs).
Findings by Daily Trust showed that Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists killed 114 of our gallant troops while 69 were killed by other non-State actors.
For instance, 36 officers were killed on April 24 in Mainok, Borno State during an ambush on a military super camp.
In another case, at least seven soldiers of the Nigerian Army died instantly after an ambush in northern part of Borno while four others sustained injuries.
Among the injured was Colonel Husseini Samaila Sankara, who also died while receiving treatment.
He was the latest to be buried in Abuja on Thursday.
Sankara, who was laid to rest at the Guards Brigade cemetery amid tears and emotions, died on July 1, 2021, on May 30, 2021.
The late officer was on his way from Marte, a town in Borno State, to the state capital, Maiduguri, when their gun truck ran into the explosive.
Another Nigerian Army Major was killed in Jigawa State by armed robbers last week while on his way to Kano from Maiduguri.
On Thursday, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State said seven soldiers lost their lives while repelling a bandits’ attack in his State on Tuesday.
The Governor said this when he visited five soldiers injured in the attack around Marke village who are receiving treatment at Sir Yahaya Memorial Hospital, Birnin Kebbi.
In the South East and South South, members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have also killed some soldiers.
This story first appeared in Daily Trust, https://dailytrust.com/nigerians-urge-support-for-military-as-criminals-kill-183-soldiers-in-6-months