The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has revealed that 847 Nigerian soldiers have been killed by the Boko Haram terrorists from 2013 till date, and the deceased officers were buried in the Military cemetery located in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Ndume made this revelation while briefing journalists in Abuja on the findings of him and his colleagues who recently returned from Maiduguri.
Apart from the deceased 847 soldiers, Ndume stated that other soldiers killed by the terrorists may have been buried in other military cemeteries located in other parts of the North-Eastern region.
He also denied reports of mass burial of soldiers killed by the terrorists. He said:
“We visited the cemetery because as you know, there have been reports of mass burial in the armed forces. We went to see how well kitted they are. We also visited the army hospital that was attacked twice.
“The war is won but Boko Haram needs to be defeated. They don’t only attack civilians but the military as well. So far, from the record we saw in the cemetery, I think we lost over 847 soldiers – by the that is in that cemetery alone.
“That is from 2013 to date. And so you know they have cemeteries elsewhere where they bury victims. But that allegation that there is a mass burial, is not true. Nigerians don’t do that. Nigerian army will never do that.
“In fact, if any of them is missing, they go out to search and get the person before declaring whether or not he is dead and even if he is dead, they make attempts to retrieve the body. We went, we asked questions. That is not true,” Ndume revealed.
The lawmaker insisted that Boko Haram was not eliminated as claimed by the military and further revealed that the Senate was probing to established whether or not some non-governmental agencies operating in the North-East, were providing useful information to the Boko Haram leaders.
“Another area that the Senate will look into is the allegation that the various NGOs in that area are conniving with the insurgents – providing them information, logistics, and so many things.
“I have been critical about this and people have told me to be careful but it has come out now that one or two of the so-called NGOs operating there are aiding and abetting and supporting the insurgents but we will do an investigation and we will hear if we have the evidence.
“So far, we have evidence. We just want to make it credible. The evidence is there and the common questions are even there. I have asked them before when Chibok girls were released, we were very happy and jubilating.
“Some people went and negotiated for their release. When Dapchi girls were abducted, only one was remaining but you negotiated for the rest. Then what happened with the only one?” Ndume asked.
He, however, commended the dogged fight against insurgency by the military, noting that the soldiers were paying supreme price to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.
Shekau said the reason why Borno has been under heavy attacks was because there are lots of infidels in the state.