The soldiers who fired gunshots into the air during a protest at the Maiduguri International Airport in Borno State on Sunday have been arrested and will be charged for mutiny, SaharaReporters understands.
The soldiers, members of the specially-trained Armed Forces Special Force (AFSF), arrived the airport well ahead of their scheduled posting to Marte Local Government, one of the zones on the outskirts of Borno still prone to Boko Haram attacks.
SaharaReporters understands that more than 300 of them were posted to Borno almost four years ago, prior to the 2015 election, but more than 200 of them have been killed by Boko Haram.
Having been in Borno for that long, the soldiers believed it was time for them to be posted elsewhere and relieved by another batch of soldiers. Instead, they were posted to Marte.
In addition, they were recently trained to provide air defence for ground troops, leaving them thinking ground troops, rather than them, should have been posted to Marte.
During their fit of rage at the airport, they fired shots into the air and even threatened to shoot Bulami Biu, General Officer Commander (GOC) of 7 Division, if he showed up.
On Monday, the Theatre Command said the situation had been brought under control.
“The Theatre Command yesterday witnessed a riotous reaction from a few unscrupulous troops while conducting a redeployment of troops who are currently deployed at the Maiduguri Airport, following a directive to review troops' deployment in Maiduguri metropolis in a bid to reinvigorate the security architecture of the city,” Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, Deputy Director of Public Relations, Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, said in a statement.
“The redeployment became expedient after a recent assessment of the security situation by the Theatre Command. Regrettably, however, a few of the troops who had misunderstood the development and erroneously assumed it was going to negatively affect their rotation from the theatre of operation became agitated and reacted by firing into the air.
“Calm has however been restored, as the Theatre Commander, Major General Abba Dikko has promptly taken charge of the situation after addressing and admonishing the troops. The Theatre Command undoubtedly considers this ugly incident quite regrettable and appropriate measures are being taken to forestall a recurrence.
“Members of the general public are please enjoined to remain calm and go about their normal activities as the situation has been put under firm control.”