Martin Luther Agwai

Former Chief of Defence Staff, General Martin Luther Agwai, has explained that troops battling Boko Haram terrorists in the North East were suffering casualties because they were not fighting conventional warfare.

This came on a day President Muhammadu Buhari warned Nigerians to desist from politicising the deaths of soldiers killed after Boko Haram overran their base in Borno State last Sunday.

Agwai explained that soldiers were originally trained to fight conventional warfare, saying what they were facing at the moment in the North East was strange to their training.

To this end, he appealed to Nigerians not to see the killing of troops as a sign of weakness on the part of the military, insisting that in an unconventional warfare, troops must suffer casualty.

The former Chief of Army Staff, who spoke to journalists weekend on the sideline of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students, NIFES, held in Abuja, asked Nigerians not to make so much issues out of the ugly development, even as he described it as so sad for the nation.

Hear him: “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 of us that when a dog bites man, it’s not news but the day a man bites 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 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.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday warned Nigerians to desist from politicising the deaths of soldiers killed after Boko Haram overran their base in Borno State last Sunday.

At least 118 soldiers were killed, while 153 were declared missing in the attack on 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Borno State.

After initial silence from both the Presidency and the Nigerian military, Buhari condemned the killing on Saturday, six days after the attack, promising to wipe out the insurgency and prioritise the plight of Nigerian troops involved in the counter-insurgency operations.

Reiterating his administration’s commitment to defeating the insurgency yesterday, President Buhari emphasised the need for Nigerians to see the insurgents as common enemies, and shun the urge to seek political advantage from their evil campaign.

The President said in his Twitter yesterday: “We must resist the temptation to play politics with the tragedy of the deaths of our soldiers. They are heroes on the frontlines, fighting to make Nigeria a safer place for us all.”

“Rest assured that the circumstances that have led to these deaths will be comprehensively addressed.’’

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