A new report suggests that the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group is receiving some of its arms and ammunition from corrupt army officers in Nigeria.
The report published on Sunday by the Associated Press revealed that several top-ranking military commanders were being secretly investigated in Nigeria for offenses related to the fight against Boko Haram, including the theft and sale of ammunition.
Military authorities confirmed on Thursday that some soldiers were selling arms and ammunition to Boko Haram, calling it a betrayal of the Nigerian people. Major General Lucky Irabor, the theater commander in northeastern Nigeria, would not provide more details during his briefing.
The AP report quoted a soldier on the frontline of the fight as saying that his brigade commander is among officers standing trial in a northeastern city. He said the investigation is concentrated on the fate of 21 anti-aircraft guns assigned this year to the artillery brigade of the commander in question. The unnamed soldier added that the brigade only received one gun.
The military said three weeks ago that 16 officers and troops had been charged in the case by a military tribunal.
Other reports have suggested that the military is also investigating a group of retired and current officers for misappropriating hundreds of millions of dollars, which was assigned to the army for the fight against Boko Haram. Alex Badeh, a four-star general and Nigeria’s former chief of defense staff, is one of the main suspects. According to witness accounts, Badeh, who was sacked last year, built a shopping mall in the capital, Abuja, after reportedly stealing the equivalent of USD 24 million budgeted for salaries in 2013.
The current chief of army staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, is also under pressure as civil society groups are demanding an investigation into his procurement of two properties worth USD 1.5 million in Dubai.
More than 20,000 people have been killed since a militancy began seven years ago by Boko Haram, a terrorist group which is mostly based in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries. The militants have pledged allegiance to Daesh, a group mainly based in the Middle East.
Many Nigerian soldiers ran away during a blitz by Boko Haram in 2014, allowing the group to seize control of a large swath of land northeast of the country. The soldiers said that the militants were better armed and equipped during the battle and that their high-ranking officers stole parts of their salaries and allowances.