The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai wept as he gave an emotionally speech at the burial of seven (7) soldiers recently killed in a Boko Haram attack at Malam Fotori, Borno state.
The Army chief’s voice cracked while speaking during the gloomy military burial ceremony of the soldiers, which reflected the painful mood at the Nation Military Cemetery in Abuja on Monday.
Buratai in his speech said: “here lie the bodies of our fallen heroes; Lt. Co. Muhammad Abu Ali, Staff Sgt. Muazu Ibrahim, Sgt Husseini Jafaru, Sgt Okon Bassey, Cpl Chukwu Simon, PTE Salishu Lawal, and Able Seaman Patrick Paul.”
He said: “These gallant soldiers were inducted into Operation Lafiya Dole in 2014 to form the pivot of the counter insurgency efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the North East.”
He added that: “Through fearless and dogged determination to defend the territorial integrity of our fatherland, these turned the tide of battle to liberate Nigeria from the scourge of terrorism.”
“As members of 119 Task Force Battalion, and the Armed Forces Special Forces, they went after the adversaries to smoke them out of their enclaves, bomb their factories had hiding areas,” he noted.
Buratai said: “They were brave, precise, professional and inspiring.”
He pointed out that: “ that they led the battle to recapture the following towns and villages: Monguno, Baga, New Marge, Bama, Gwoza, Banki Junction, Gamboru Ngala, Yale, Yemteke, Bitam, Doronaira, Kagarwa, Ärrege, Abadam, and Mallam Fatori.”
“In these battles, they rescued women, and children, fathers and mothers, the young and the old and restore peace and order to Nigerian citizens,” he said.
He said: “At last on 4th November 2016, they paid the supreme sacrifice in the battle of Mallam Fatori. These men epitomize the best of our military.”
He said they exemplified the values of our nation and our military, with their loyalty, discipline, courage, selfless service, respect, honour and dignity.
He noted that they left behind wives, children, as well as parents and dependents, adding that they fought for the unity of the nation.
“Our brave and gallant compatriots, your families and comrades will miss you. The entire nation will miss you but be rest assured that your labour will never be in vain.
“Sarkin Yarkin, the frontline general, you and your men have fought a good fight, you always told them to pray, stay alert, and stay alive.
“You will always be alive in our memories, we shall continue to pray for you, we shall continue to pray for you all, and we shall remain alert for you, for the cause you have laid your life for,” Buratai stated.
He also promised that: “Your loved ones will remain in our care and their welfare will be of utmost priority at all times. “
President Buhari, who was represented by his chief of Staff Abba Kyari said: “No words can do justice to the patriotism and courage of these soldiers who laid down their lives for Nigeria.
He said the officer and soldiers together with their colleagues have shown unalloyed commitment to the common good of all Nigerians. They were fearless, responsive, inspiring selfless and dedicated to the discharge of their duties.
He added that: “In these qualities lay the foundation to our nation’s values. At times like this the attention of our nation is refocused on the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, epitomizing the nobel values of that Unites our country.”
He said the selflessness of these gentlemen reinvigorates the memories of other great heroes who stood firm in the defence of our dear nation and had to pay the supreme price in the fight against insurgency.
He added that their sacrifice, patriotism and indeed gallantry would surely not go in vain. Nigerian would continue to remember their outstanding efforts in securing the territorial integrity of the country.
He said: “undeniably the gallantry and high sense of professionalism displayed by these gentlemen has contributed to the restoration of peace and normalcy in the Northeast.”
He said: “it is therefore our resolve that the efforts of these fallen heroes shall never be in vain. We remain spurred by the zeal and gallant efforts to ensure that terrorism and insurgency is defeated so that our country can enjoy the much desired peace and progress.”
He also said: “to the bereaved families, the government and people of Nigeria share this moment of grief with you. Although this is a sorrowful moment, please take solace I the fact that your bread winners have brought honour and pride to Nigeria the military and the families.
“To these gallant heroes, I say may your gentle souls rest in peace.” Buhari stated.