The Army said yesterday that the death of 15 soldiers killed by members of the Boko Haram would not deter it from crushing the terrorist group.
It also declared its willingness and capability of defeating all terrorist groups which are hampering Nigeria’s peace and stability.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-General Onyeabor Azubuike Ihejirika, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday at the burial of the soldiers, said they died in their zeal and gallantry efforts to ensure that terrorism and insurgency are defeated so that our country can enjoy the much desired peace.
The Army chief, while commiserating with the bereaved families, said their death was not just a monumental loss to their relations, the Armed Forces, security agencies, but to the entire country and Africa where they fought and died for peace to reign. He said the death of the soldiers would further strengthen the military to wipe out terrorism.
He prayed God to grant the bereaved families the fortitude to bear the great loss, while promising that the Army will assist them and ensure they get all the entitlements as soon as possible.
Also speaking at the burial which took place at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Saa’d, said the decision to make the ceremony public, was to warn the insurgents and other terrorist groups who have been causing trouble and destabilising the peace of the country that the military would not fold its arms and allow dissidents have their way.
He said: “We’re holding a public burial ceremony. By this ceremony, we are sending a warning signal to terrorists, insurgents and those who are in the habit of fomenting trouble to destabilize the country that the Nigerian Armed Forces is willing and capable of defending the territorial integrity of the nation”.
In his address, President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, while commiserating with the officers and soldiers, pledged his administration’s resolve to improve soldiers’ welfare and strengthen their operational capabilities to conquer Nigeria’s security challenges.
He urged them to be strong at this time of their grief and take solace in the fact that they were winning the war against terrorism.
He said “rather than despair and lose focus, I urge you to strategise to defeat the enemies”. Speaking on behalf of the bereaved families, Pastor Iliya Joshua Hamadu, called on the military to investigate the remote causes of the death of their relatives because as he put it, “their death remains a mystery to their families.”