Avenge Their Deaths, CDS Orders Commanders, Troops at Burial of 22 Soldiers Killed by Terrorists
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa has ordered all military commanders and troops in the country to immediately avenge the death of their colleagues in the hands of terrorists. General Musa gave the order yesterday at the national military cemetery in Abuja, during the burial of 22 soldiers killed by terrorists in Niger State on August 13. The terrorists, obviously with better intelligence, ambushed the Nigerian soldiers in Chikoba community, Shiroro, Local Government Area of Niger State, killing no fewer than 25 of them.
Sadly, a military helicopter that went to evacuate dead and injured soldiers crashed, killing another 11 military officers. Days later, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) confirmed that three officers and 22 soldiers were killed during the ambush. The remains of the fallen soldiers were yesterday conveyed from a military hospital in Kaduna to Abuja Airport where they were moved to the cemetery for interment.
Speaking at the burial ceremony attended by families, friends, senior military personnel and colleagues of the late officers, the Chief of Defence Staff vowed that those responsible for the deaths of the personnel would pay for it. He vowed that the military would hunt down bandits, and terrorists, among other criminal elements, in the country. Musa said: “We will ensure those who did this must pay for this. I use this opportunity to call on all commanders and troops all over Nigeria that we must avenge this. Those who did this, and those who continue to kill our men, wherever they are, we will get them, we will smoke them out and we will ensure that they never have any other opportunity to kill any other person, that I assure you.
“We will hunt you down, we will bring you to justice. We will not relent until we get those causing havoc in the country,” the distraught defence chief said. He expressed deep pain over the tragic occurrence: “Today is one of the most difficult days in every commander’s mind because when you have to bury your own, you feel highly pained. But I want to assure the families that their death is not in vain.”The defence chief praised the fallen personnel for paying the supreme sacrifice in defence of the nation.“Today we gather here with heavy hearts and tearful eyes to bid farewell to our fallen heroes in the Armed Forces of Nigeria, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our nation.
“We stand here today to honour their courage, dedication and commitment to duty. Their lives were abruptly taken from us in the line of duty while responding to a distress call in the Chikoba community in Shiroro, Local Government Area in Niger State.“We gather not only to believe they are lost but also to celebrate their lives and extra extraordinary contributions to our beloved nation. We are gathered here today not only as great family members, friends and colleagues but also as the nation united.
“These following years exemplify the very best of what it means to serve and protect our nation. They were the vendors of peace, the guidance of our freedom and the sentiments of our security, their selflessness and unwavering dedication to duty will forever be etched in our hearts and memories,” he said. He praised the departed personnel for braving all the odds in the service of the nation.“Today, we bid farewell to men who dedicated their lives to the cause of safeguarding our nation. They were men and women of honour and integrity. They accepted the call to serve, fully aware of the dangers that lay ahead. And yet they never were rewarded in their commitment to protecting the lives and property of our fellow citizens.
“They were sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers.“To the families, who have lost loved ones, we give our deepest condolences. We cannot begin to fathom the pain and sorrow that we are experiencing. Know that deep in your heart, you are not alone in your grief.“The entire nation and the Armed Forces are with you and are still ready to support you in any possible way. We recognise that no word can ease your pain, but we hope that you’ll find solace in the knowledge that your loved ones left an indelible mark in our nation’s history,” Musa assured. At the burial, the ministers of defence and the service chief performed the wreath laying. Nigerian flags and plaques were given to the next of kin of the fallen officers and the traditional 21-gun salute was rendered in honour of the fallen heroes.
The solemn ceremony was attended by Governor Mohammed Bago of Niger State; Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru; Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle; Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ikechukwu Ogalla; and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar.