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How Gwoza fell


On the 14th of July, 2014, an excellent and proficient Armoured Corp Officer, took over the command of 26 Task Force Brigade Headquarters under the oversight of the 7th Division in Borno state.
His predecessor had taken a leave of absence to attend to his health.Less than a month after taking over command, Boko Harams dressed
in Nigerian Army camouflage uniforms, and using Armoured Personnel Carriers and Toyota Land Cruisers and Hilux vehicle mounted triple Anti-Aircraft Artillery guns simultaneously attacked the brigade and the troops that were strategically located at Brigade/Battalion HQ, INEC Junction and Emir’s Palace in Gwoza.

As the attack progressed, the commanding ofcer contacted the HQ of the 7th Division and 79 Combat Group for air support. He quickly moved to his APC, and ordered the gunner to open fre in the direction of the attack. But the gunner complained that the gun was jammed, and could not respond to the attack.
The commanding officer then moved to Shilka, another infantry fighting vehicle and ordered the gunner there to proceed in the direction of the Boko Haram attack. After firing a few rounds with some damage to the terrorists, the Shilka stopped and did not move again. All the while, the soldiers were under severe enemy fire.

Even the efforts of another Steyr APC, to come to the rescue of the troops failed as the gunner also reported faulty equipment. All efforts to hold position proved abortive. The late arrival of reinforcements and air support (12 hours late), could only provide cover for a retreat.
That is how the town of Gwoza was lost to Boko Haram.

The fall of Gwoza was not an oddity in the front of Nigeria's North East in the years leading to the pre-election offensive of 2015. Boko Haram rode on the wave of superior fire power, and out-gunned and outclassed the Nigerian military, displacing them from territories and eventually going ahead to control more than 15 local governments across the North East.
One recurring decimal was the inadequacy of arms and ammunition to defend towns, and that resulted in heavy casualties both civilian and military. It made a mockery of the Nigerian military and the federal government for their inability to secure the territorial integrity of the country