Violence erupted again near the Nigerian village where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped, with the Associated Press reporting that gunfire between Islamic militants and the Nigerian military left 12 soldiers dead and led to some soldiers firing on a commanding officer as he left the scene.
According to a witness who spoke to AP, some soldiers were upset with the officer because he ordered them to continue moving through the area, even when they wanted to rest, which resulted in Wednesday’s clash with the militants. The soldiers followed the higher-ranking official’s command and were subsequently ambushed outside of Chibok—the same area where the girls were kidnapped—and a dozen soldiers were killed.
The Nigerian government tried to downplay the incident between the soldiers and the senior officer, Maj. Gen. Ahmadu Mohammed, saying that the soldiers shot into the air, not at Mohammed’s departing vehicle. Soldiers who spoke with AP contradicted the government, telling reporters that the incensed soldiers fired directly at Mohammed’s vehicle. Mohammed was not hit.
Collective anger among Nigeria’s military is growing as soldiers feel undersupported and outgunned by the insurgents, the AP reports. Soldiers say they don’t have proper equipment like bulletproof vests and sometimes have to scrounge for food.
The Nigerian military has come under international scrutiny since the Islamic militant group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the village of Chibok on April 15. As more reports have surfaced of the government’s awareness and subsequent inaction in rescuing the children, international and social media pressure has heightened. Just last week, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan agreed to accept assistance from the United States, Britain, China and France.
After threatening to sell the girls into slavery on Monday, Boko Haram released a video claiming that it would be willing to release the girls in exchange for the release of jailed Boko Haram members.
Read more at the Associated Press.