“Accidental discharge kills two soldiers. We deeply regret to announce the death of two soldiers of the 192 Battalion, who lost their lives as a result of an accidental discharge during in-theatre training on Wednesday."
Two staff sergeants of the Nigerian Army, identified as Adegor Okpako and Saka, have been killed and four others injured in an incident at the 192 Battalion in the Gwoza area of Borno State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the incident occurred around 3pm on Wednesday during what was referred to as in-theatre training in the army base.
However, while some people claimed that Okpako deliberately killed Saka and injured four others before committing suicide, the Nigerian Army said it was a case of accidental discharge.
A source said Okpako came to the army base two days before and embarked on a random shooting, adding that the four injured personnel were three soldiers and a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force.
The Nigerian Army confirmed the incident on its Twitter page, saying the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, had ordered a board of enquiry to investigate the incident.
The Army said, “Accidental discharge kills two soldiers. We deeply regret to announce the death of two soldiers of the 192 Battalion, who lost their lives as a result of an accidental discharge during in-theatre training on Wednesday.
“The Chief of Army Staff has directed the Commander, 26 Brigade, Gwoza, to immediately constitute a board of inquiry to unravel the circumstances that led to this unfortunate situation.”
Some Nigerians on Twitter demanded that the army disclose the truth of the matter and the identities of the deceased soldiers.
One Onyefu Osaosu said the Army was not telling the truth, adding that pellets were usually used during training.
Another poster, Eustace Njoku, said, “Why are they using live ammunition during training, how can that be possible? Is it how the Nigerian Armed Forces train?”
One Ajegun said uniformed men deserved to be celebrated when they die in the line of duty to boost the morale of those still serving.
“This is highly dismissive of a soldier who threw his life into the rings for this nation. Please mention their names, upload their pictures, show them some respect and appreciate them for the times they showed devotion and loyalty in service. Is Nigeria really worth dying for?” another user, Emmanuel Shebbs, said.
One Nkem, said, “We would appreciate names please; to show we honour them as individuals, not as numbers. We also would appreciate names of those killed by terrorists. They deserve that honour. Even military dogs in the West are recognised by names.”
A Twitter user, Nonso Ikeh, urged the Nigerian Army to put measures in place to forestall a recurrence.
“Accidental discharge during in-theatre training is another way of saying that soldier suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the incompetence of the army hierarchy shot at colleagues perceived to be receiving favours,” another Nigerian, Baba Yaga, said.