According to the Pentagon, 12 US soldiers have trained Nigerian troops fighting against Boko Haram on a six-week advice-and-assist mission in Jaji, Kaduna State.
The U.S. Department of Defence revealed that the 26th Infantry of the Nigerian Army might be the next to be deployed to the Northeast to confront the violent Boko Haram insurgents.
Reports from NAN say that the department in the course of documenting some accounts of U.S. soldiers during training outlined the importance of preparing the Nigerian troops fro the threats that the terrorists would pose in the fight.
Sgt. Saul Rodriguez, one of the 12 U.S. soldiers with the most experience said: “Even in triple-digit heat and with AK-47 automatic rifles in hand, it’s easy to forget these soldiers are likely headed into imminent danger”.
“My job is to train you as much as I can. Your job is to fight the bad guys out of your country,” Pentagon quoted Rodriguez as he shouted to a group of soldiers who were demonstrating their best cover and concealment tactics behind Jaji’s bushes and trees.
Staff Sgt. Kevon Martin of the 10th Mountain Division Fort Drum, New York, in the course of stressing the importance and significance of noise discipline said that that they needed the skills as they would come up against real threats. He said: “Yes. We are hard on them. We have to be. Their life depends on it. They might need these skills one day.
“They face a very real and lethal threat. We aren’t going to slow down; we are going to pack as much training in as possible,” Martin said.
Meanwhile, Capt. Stephen Gouthro explained that this responsibility of preparing Nigerian soldiers was not lost on him, as he noted that one of the best parts of the mission was the lack of micromanagement.
Gouthro said: “What better way to demonstrate mission command. This mission isn’t only about the tactical.
“Everything our team does could have diplomatic effects. Out here, the team has to be professional, mature and disciplined. And we are.”
Pentagon said: “All in all, this mission is the definition of the U.S. Army’s top priority: readiness.
“From pack-out preparations to redeployment operations, this mission challenged junior officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) to work without built-in support from ‘Big Army’.
“Austere conditions, local negotiations, food from the economy, far from higher headquarters, limited digital capabilities, diplomatic implications and foreign-military engagements are only a few examples of how this mission has made these men more ready”.
It disclosed that a small support team had made a trip to Jaji about four weeks into the mission, flying down from U.S. Army Africa headquarters in Vicenza, Italy.