There is a complete breakdown of order and discipline at the 21 Brigade of the Nigerian Army with soldiers deployed to rout Boko Haram from the dreaded Sambisa Forest in Borno State turning against their officers and firing gunshots in all directions.
People familiar with the matter said the troops complained of mistreatment and then began to shoot indiscriminately, threatening to kill any officer who stands on their way.
“The brigade is based in Bama but is currently deployed at Bula Bello in Sambisa for Operation Rescue Final,” a military insider told PREMIUM TIMES.
“But suddenly soldiers started mutinying at 6 AM today, firing in all directions and threatening to pull out of the operation.
“As some of them fire gunshots, some started preparing vehicles to move out of the location. They also warned officers to steer clear or they would be shot dead.
“They are saying their commanders have been treating them badly and telling them lies. As I speak to you, the firing is still going on, and there is confusion everywhere.”
The commander of the Brigade, Col AG Laka, could not immediately be reached to comment for this story.
The Nigerian Army is yet to issue a statement on the incident.
Contacted, the spokesperson for the Army, Sani Usman, a brigadier general, declined comment on the development.
There have been repeated cases of mutiny by Nigerian soldiers since the war against Boko Haram began, and the Army has tried over 100 soldiers for the offense.
The worst case occurred in May 2014 when troops of 7 Division, angered by the death of 12 of their colleagues in a Boko Haram ambush, opened fire on the vehicle of their General Officer Commanding (GOC), Major General Ahmadu Mohammed.
The soldiers were later arrested, tried and jailed.