BEIRUT

World

Wives block soldiers’ deployment against Boko Haram

Nigerian soldiers stand guard during Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Maiduguri, Nigeria August 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria: Military wives in the restive Nigerian city of Maiduguri have taken to the streets this week, burning tires to prevent their husbands' deployment to fight Boko Haram.

About 300 women and 500 children have for two days gathered at the gates of a military base in the Borno state capital, claiming that their spouses were ill-equipped to take on the Islamist militants.

Boko Haram has been waging a brutal insurgency since 2009 which has left thousands of people dead, despite a state of emergency imposed in three northeast states since May 2013 and a troop surge.

The soldiers stationed in Maiduguri were due to retake the town of Gwoza, which Boko Haram overran last week, killing dozens and sending hundreds more fleeing.

"No weapons for our husbands, no trip to Gwoza or any volatile place. We are tired of burying our loved ones," Thabita John, one of the protesting wives, said Monday.

She added that the soldiers were "ill-equipped to fight the dreaded Boko Haram."

Anoter soldier's wife, Rahina Ali, added: "Our husbands are always given inferior weapons while the Boko Haram have superior weapons."

The military wives staged a similar protest Saturday.

Some survivors of the attack on Gwoza managed to make it to Maiduguri, some 135 kilometers away, but hundreds more were trapped on a nearby mountain and short on food.

President Goodluck Jonathan's declaration of a state of emergency in Borno and neighboring Yobe and Adamawa initially saw Boko Haram pushed out of urban centers.

But the thousands of extra troops, vehicles and aircraft have largely failed to stop militant attacks in remoter, rural areas. This year, attacks have occurred on an almost daily basis.

Locals claim that some parts of the northeast are effectively no-go areas for the military, with Boko Haram apparently better equipped than the soldiers sent to fight them.

Survivors of attacks frequently recount how the militants used semi-automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and even armored personnel carriers.

One soldier who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the troops in the barracks in Maiduguri relied on run-down equipment.

"Our wives are speaking our minds... we are grossly under-equipped," the soldier said. "Our guns are weak and armored carriers not serviceable."

A military spokesman in Maiduguri was not immediately available for comment.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here