The Nigerian Army said a report alleging desertion of the Boko Haram frontline by 12 officers and 89 soldiers was false “unfounded and an attempt to malign its image”.
Director of Army Publications Brigadier Mohammed Yerima said the report was based on an internal memo which showed that the said soldiers were missing after a Boko Haram attack.
He said a good number of the soldiers have rejoined their units in clearance operations.
Yerima however did not specify how many of the 101 men are back.
Boko Haram/ISWAP attacked Marte and later Dikwa in recent days, in which the army lost some of its men.
Both Borno towns have now been retaken by the Nigerian military.
Here is the full statement:
The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a publication in a section of the media alleging that over a 100 Nigerian troops were reported to have absconded after Boko Haram attacks on Marte and Dikwa.
This publication is false, unfounded and an attempt to malign the image and character of the Nigerian Army.
For the records, in the fog of war, it is a routine that head count is conducted to determine the number of men and equipment holding aftermath of military offensive.
Unfortunately, an internal correspondence that was originated by the formation was not properly done. It was later discovered that a good number of those affected rejoined their respective units and are currently part of the ongoing clearance operations.
Members of the general public are please advised to disregard the story as the subversive intent of the promoters are targeted at dampening the morale and fighting efficiency of our troops. We continually solicit especially the much needed public support in the fight against Boko Haram.
The Nigerian Army wishes to reassure the general public that troops are in high spirit and currently clearing areas infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists/ISWAP.
It is on record that the troops fought to defend the Internally Displaced Persons Camp and United Nations Humanitarian Hub in Dikwa.
It is pertinent to also note that normalcy has returned to Dikwa and its environs.
Director Army Public Relations
4 March 2021.