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Nigerian Soldiers Defy Orders to Deploy Against Boko Haram

  • VOA News

File - Nigerian soldiers patrol the area near the scene of a shopping mall explosion in Abuja, Nigeria, June 25, 2014.

Nigerian soldiers say they defied orders to launch an operation against Boko Haram militants because the soldiers were not adequately armed.

The soldiers say the incident happened Saturday, when soldiers with Nigeria's 21st Armored Brigade were told to advance toward Gwoza and Daiwa, two parts of Borno state where the militants are active.

One soldier said the group refused orders when they were told to move ahead without two armored personnel carriers that were initially assigned to the operation.

The soldiers spoke to journalists Wednesday in the city of Maiduguri on condition of anonymity.

Nigerian defense spokesman Chris Olukolade said he did not know about the incident but denied reports of a mutiny, saying, "Our soldiers are too disciplined and patriotic to indulge in this dangerous offense."

Nigeria's government has struggled in its fight against Boko Haram, which is blamed for thousands of deaths in the past five years.

Analysts have said the Islamist militants appear to be better armed than the army or other security forces. Earlier this month, wives of soldiers in the 21st Armored Bridagde blockaded a barracks to prevent their husbands from being deployed to Gwoza.

Boko Haram has taken over villages and towns in Borno state, and witnesses say they've killed anyone who objects.

The group wants to impose a harsh form of Islamic law over northern Nigeria.

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