Residents of Damasak town in the Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State are currently living in fear after the Brigade Commander for the 145 battalion withdrew troops from the area, a military source told SaharaReporters.
Some military sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said Brig. Gen. G.O. Olorunyomi was dispatched to the area to replace S.S. Tilawan as the new Brigade Commander but noted it had affected the security of the area.
The sources alleged that G.O. Olorunyomi was only after his convenience having withdrawn troops and other weapons from Damasak to Gubio which was termed ‘Tactical Headquarters’.
One of the sources said the new Brigade Commander, from all indications, does not want to stay in the bush (Damasak) and would rather serve himself than the people, who are now in danger.
The source told SaharaReporters, “There is serious tension in Damasak as the new brigade commander, Brig. Gen. G.O. Olorunyomi, withdrew troops from Damasak to Gubio.
“He has taken lots of soldiers from here, the area is empty and civilians are seriously troubled that Boko Haram may attack at any time due to the number of soldiers that left Damasak.
“Olorunyomi literally left with all the equipment that the former Brigade Commander built such as the medical facility. When the former Brigade Commander came, he found out that soldiers were dying due to a lack of medication.
“After an attack, if a soldier sustains a little injury, the soldier is likely to die before they call in Force medical team to come and evacuate the person to Maiduguri or maybe on the way, there might be an ambush.
“The man built a huge hospital for soldiers here in Damasak, that's Brigadier General S.S. Tilawan but this new Brigade Commander took everything and took all soldiers to Gubio. Even civilians are trembling."
Another source noted that the former brigade commander gave soldiers hope but that, unlike his predecessor, Olorunyomi likes convenience and "doesn't want to stay in the bush".
“The former brigade commander did a very good job, he gave soldiers hope, made us live a comfortable life but this new one doesn't want to stay in the bush. Since he came here, he has visited Maiduguri more than 15 times while the former one only left this bush once when his father died.
“He showed an example of leadership but it's unfortunate that in the Nigerian Army, some commanders come to deliver, some come to scatter.
“Olorunyomi came and took the weapons that Tilawan fought to get for this area and took them away, this area is very close to Lake Chad, and enemies can attack at any time. It is the last point of entry into the Niger Republic but the new BG doesn't care, he took everything to go and grind himself in Gubio.
“This new brigade commander banned Civilian JTF whereas Tilawan used to pay these boys every month so security could be very tight but this man came and banned everything, making these men a threat to the Nigerian Army because they are not happy.
“That's what is going on here, there is fear in the mind of civilians and soldiers are not happy with all that this new brigade commander did.
“He packed both elements of 145 battalion and 5 Brigade both humans and weapons from Damasak to Gubio, took them there and called the place tactical headquarters because he doesn't want to stay in the bush.
“Meanwhile, the new chief of staff for 5 brigade, Colonel B.C. Ezah was busy looking for money. Tilawan created a place to provide water for civilians in the town but this new Chief of Staff came and stopped it,” the source said.
Efforts made by SaharaReporters to reach the Nigerian Army Director of Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, were not successful as he did not answer calls or reply to a text message sent to him.