Troops battling Boko Haram terrorists in the North East are suffering casualties because the war is not conventional, former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (retd), has said.
He was reacting to the recent killing of about 50 soldiers by terrorists in Metele, Borno State.
According to him, although soldiers were originally trained to fight conventional warfare, what they were facing at the moment in the North East was strange to their training.
Agwai, who was also a former Chief of Army Staff, therefore, appealed to Nigerians not to see the killing of troops as a sign of weakness on the part of the military.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Saturday on the sidelines of the 50th anniversary of the Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students, he insisted that during unconventional warfare, troops must suffer casualties.
He, therefore, asked Nigerians not to make issues out of the ugly development even as he described it as “so sad for the nation.”
At the event, a former Minister of Information and Orientation, Prof. Jerry Gana, applauded the roles of NIFES in molding Christian leaders in the country.
Gana, who was also a former President of NIFES when he was a student at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, regretted the current state of affairs in the country, with a call on Nigerians, especially the youths to vote for visionary leaders in the 2019 general elections.
He said, “I’m delighted that some of us were student leaders when NIFES was initially formed. I was the President of Fellowship of Christian Students at ABU, Zaria.
Agwai said, “Let me say with all sincerity that it is so sad that we have lost such number of people (soldiers). Let me also remind all that when a dog bites man, it’s not news but the day a man bites a dog, you know that it’s news.
“How many of you have reported the number of Boko Haram that have been arrested, those that have been detained and those that have been killed by the security agents? It’s because that is the dog biting man, that’s what is expected of the troops.
“But you cannot go to the abattoir and you say you don’t want blood to touch you. If you don’t want blood to touch you, then you must not go to abattoir. So, we as a nation must be prepared to get this type of bad news. It does not mean that our soldiers are not fighting gallantly.”