A military source has explained why the Nigerian Army of 5 Brigade and 145 Battalion could not repel Boko Haram attack on Damasak town, Borno State despite heavy military presence.
The military source told SaharaReporters that Brigadier General, S. S. Tilawan had asked soldiers to stay back rather than attack the terrorists who invaded Damasak town on Saturday.
According to him, the Boko Haram militants had come through the town where civilians are residing making it difficult for the fighter aircraft to strike.
He said the airforce personnel had monitored the movement of the terrorists and informed foot soldiers who ought to tactically combat the attack. He, however, said S. S. Tilawan asked soldiers to retreat, giving the terrorists a smooth operation.
“The Boko Haram terrorists came through Damasak town and started the attack from 4:04 pm to 8 pm. The attack lasted for that long, the Boko Haram militants came through the town where civilians live. The airforce personnel tried, they were there on time to attack Boko Haram but couldn't because of civilians.
“It was supposed to be the duty of the army to enter that town and fish out these bad boys, but we don't even have what to use, talkless of other things. The jet cannot bomb that town because the Boko Haram militants came from where civilians are staying and the governor of this state, Babagana Zulum, has so much confidence in this battalion, that is why he opened IDPs' camp in Damasak to protect his people because he so much loves his people. He wants to ensure that the people live comfortably but now it seems like the army has failed the man due to high corruption in the army, this country is so bad.
“With my five years in the army, even common helmet we don't have, even those who fought first and second world wars used the helmet to fight and in this modern day and age, we don't have a helmet, I am very angry.
“Within a month now, we have lost 18 soldiers in this battalion because of one useless Brigade Commander S. S. Tilawan they brought to us. This man is creating unnecessary work, he scattered the camp. I believe he is an agent of Boko Haram. A few days ago, a company was dislodged by Boko Haram militants and when our people tried to go for reinforcement, he said we should not go. That day we lost 10 soldiers and today when the jet came, they told us that they could sight the Boko Haram guys but could not bomb because civilians were there, and that we should go with our little weapons and recapture the town.
“Tilawan still gave order that we should not go to that town. He has forgotten that we are here because of these people. The world should come and do something about this man before the issue gets out of hand. The governor should know that his people are no longer safe because of the Brigadier General S. S. Tilawan, he should come fast and do something.
“People are dying anyhow, and we are here for them. I don't know the number of people who died but I know Boko Haram militants entered the area and looted it. I feel angry because we could not help these people and we are here for them. It is my duty as a Nigerian soldier to protect people but there is nothing we can do when our leaders make decisions against the people.
“Boko Haram killed people in the town and injured some. The people are doing burials in their cemetery now. We would've rescued them yesterday but the commander gave the order that we should not enter the town.
“They didn't enter our camp but they looted Damasak town to their satisfaction. They even took civilians' cars away. We lost 3 soldiers to yesterday's attack, totalling 18 soldiers under just one month.”
SaharaReporters had earlier reported how the Boko Haram fighters invaded Damasak town in Borno State on Saturday, burning United Nations facilities and forcing humanitarian workers to flee for their lives.
It was learnt that the terrorists, aided by their deadlier Islamic State West African Province fighters, set fire to the UN office and at least three other international charity organisations contiguous to the UN facility.
“The terrorists came into the town in gun trucks. They first embarked on a looting spree. They carted away aid supplies meant for the Internally Displaced Persons before they set fire to the UN hub in the town and three other buildings belonging to other aid organisations,” a source in the town narrated.