The Nigerian Army on Thursday dismissed reports that over 100 officers and soldiers had deserted the army during encounters with insurgents in parts of Borno recently.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, said this in a statement in Abuja.
Yerima said that a section of the media had reported that over a hundred troops absconded after Boko Haram attacks on Marte and Dikwa.
According to him, the claim 100 soldiers deserted was false, unfounded and an attempt to malign the image and character of the Nigerian Army.
“For the records, in the fog of war, it is a routine that headcount is conducted to determine the number of men and equipment holding aftermath of the military offensive.
“Unfortunately, an internal correspondence that was originated by the formation was not properly done.
“It was later discovered that a good number of those affected rejoined their respective units and are currently part of the ongoing clearance operations,” he said.
The Army spokesperson, however, urged members of the public to disregard the story, adding that the subversive intent of the promoters was targeted at dampening the morale and fighting efficiency of the troops.
He solicited public support in the fight against Boko Haram, the Nigerian Army spokesman said the report that soldiers deserted was meant to dampen morale.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to reassure the general public that troops are in high spirit and currently clearing areas infiltrated by the Boko Haram terrorists/ISWAP.
“It is on record that the troops fought to defend the Internally Displaced Persons’ Camp and United Nations Humanitarian Hub in Dikwa.
“It is pertinent to also note that normalcy has returned to Dikwa and its environs,” the Nigerian Army said in its rebuttal that more than 100 soldiers deserted.
In one of the most pointing reactions to the news, IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu had asked the Igbo among them to join his Eastern Security Network, the group he envisages to lead the breakaway of the region from Nigeria.