Nigerian soldiers fired on their own commander yesterday after they were ordered into a Boko Haram ambush that killed a dozen of their comrades.
The soldiers had been conducting operations around Chibok, the town where Islamist militants snatched nearly 300 schoolgirls last month, when they came under attack.
Soldiers said the troops fired at a senior officer who came to pay respects to the killed soldiers, whose bodies were brought to a barracks in Maiduguri, the capital of north-eastern Borno state.
Observers called the shooting another sign of demoralisation in the military that is in charge of the search for the abducted schoolgirls.
It came as Britain’s top official for Africa said Wednesday that Nigeria’s government is ruling out an exchange of detained Islamic militants for the kidnapped schoolgirls.
President Goodluck Jonathan has ‘made it very clear that there will be no negotiation with Boko Haram that involves a swap of abducted schoolgirls for prisoners,’ said Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds.
But Nigeria’s government will talk to the militants on reconciliation, Mr Simmonds said, after a meeting with President Jonathan in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
‘The point that also was made very clear to me is that the president was keen to continue and facilitate ongoing dialogue to find a structure and architecture of delivering lasting solution to the conflict and the cause of conflict in northern Nigeria,’ said Mr Simmonds.