Was the attack on a military base in Borno State in which 18 soldiers were killed Sunday evening an act of sabotage to help Boko Haram insurgents steal weapons recently deployed to the base?
This appears to be the fear of the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, who has admonished the military authorities to show the fear of God in the movement of arms and ammunition to troops in the North-east frontlines.
A usually reliable military source also told Premium Times that newly deployed ammunition including a T72 tanker, were carted away by the insurgents after the attack.
Governor Zulum gave his admonition while reacting to the Sunday evening attack on a military base in Mainok, a community 55km west of Maiduguri.
Premium Times reported that at least 18 soldiers died and 43 were injured in the surprise attack on 156 Task Force Battalion in Mainok.
Our reporter gathered from military sources that the attackers targetted some high-calibre weapons deployed to the base on Friday.
“It is so sad that the T72 battle tank that was escorted from Lagos has fallen into the hands of the Boko Haram terrorists,” one of them said, a claim Premium Times has not been able to verify.
Some security sources said the authorities were forwarned of the attack by some non-military security sources but the soldiers did not respond on time due to the usual military regimented bureaucracy in the chain of command.
However, many sources who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES think that the Mainok attack could not have been successful without an insider or saboteur collaborating with the insurgents.
Mr Zulum had in his sympathy message to the Nigerian military over the attack alluded to a possible act of conspiracy by leaders saddled with transporting weapons to troops in the frontlines.
According to the statement issued by Mr Zulum’s spokesperson, Isa Gusau, the governor urged “all stakeholders at the highest levels, to continually approach equipping and supporting front line troops with the fear of God, bearing in mind that everyone will one day account for his or her doing or misdoing.”
Describing the incident as a setback, Governor Zulum said he was “seriously disturbed by the incident, especially given the fact that the insurgents have ceaselessly operated along Maiduguri-Damaturu road, impacting on the safety of travellers and residents.”
Mr Zulum assured the people of Borno that the setback in Mainok will not deter the state government from its continued collaborative efforts towards ending the insurgency.
The governor also called on the military, other armed forces and volunteers at the battlefronts “to remain resolute”.
Condoles berieved families
“Governor Zulum sympathised with the families of all that died in the Sunday attack even as he described them as heroes, who died protecting the people of Borno and defending Nigeria’s sovereignty.
READ ALSO: How Boko Haram attacked our Mainok camp – Nigerian Army
“Regardless of what happened in Mainok and how it happened as we collectively review the incident, we must first, and importantly, recognise that those soldiers who lost their lives at the weekend were fellow Nigerians; they were parents of children who are now orphans, husbands to wives who are now widows, and loved ones to families and friends now bereaved.
“They were soldiers of our armed forces who chose, out of love for our country, to risk their lives in trying to keep us as safe and to protect the sovereignty of our country.
“We mourn these heroic soldiers and anyone caught at the unfortunate setback in Mainok. We salute these fallen soldiers for their immeasurable sacrifices and we pray for the repose of their souls.
“We mourn with the families of these soldiers; we share their grief, commiserate with them and commiserate with the Nigerian military.