Here’s why soldiers shot inside Maiduguri airport
Soldiers protested and shot right inside the Maiduguri airport. Here's what really happened.
There were no casualties while the protest lasted.
According to Reuters, the soldiers said they were protesting their redeployment from their base in Maiduguri to Marte, a restive district in Borno State.
One soldier was quoted by Reuters as saying: "We are angry and that is why we are shooting. Why are they taking us again to another place after spending about four years?"
The soldier added that they were previously told they would only fight insurgents for a maximum of three years.
The angry soldiers refused to board the plane
The Cable reports that the aggrieved soldiers arrived the airport at 6pm ahead of their posting to Marte, but refused to board the airplane that was to convey them to their new posting.
The soldiers said after “spending over four years in Maiduguri, they ought to be sent back to their families and not to be posted to face death”.
Superior officers were asked to stay away
An officer who witnessed the incident told TheCable that superior officers, includingBulami Biu, General Officer Commander (GOC) of 7 division, were asked to stay off the airport or risk being shot.
“The second batch of pilgrims going for hajj from Borno boarded their flight amid the commotion,” TheCable quotes a source as saying.
“The special forces are ready for trouble. They are really angry. The superiors were asked to stay off or be killed.”
Spokesperson for the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Henrietta Yakubu, said the protest had not forced the airport to shut down.
"The situation has normalised," Yakubu said.
Protesting soldiers could be punished
Nigeria has been waging a war against Boko Haram since 2009. The terrorist sect intends to establish a hard-line Islamic caliphate in Northeast Nigeria.
Boko Haram has killed more than 30,000 people and has displaced millions since the commencement of its insurgency against the State.
The soldiers who protested at the Maiduguri airport on Sunday could be court-martialled because mutiny is a punishable offence in the army.
The Buhari led federal government often claims to have defeated Boko Haram, but soft target attacks on civilian populations and sacking of military bases by the sect, remain regular occurrences since 2015.
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