What You Need to Know:
James Kingsley, a Nigerian Corporal assigned to 26 Battalion of the Joint Task Force North West Operation Hadarin Daji, opened fire at his Senior Officer Second Lieutenant OC Ukachuckwu, killing him.
The incident occurred on Sunday evening at a JTF forward operating base in Magami, Sokoto, around six pm local time, with a report claiming Kingsley went ‘berserk’ before opening fire. Some colleagues were reportedly injured, while Ukachuckwa was the only casualty before Kingsley’s fellow JTF soldiers gunned him down.
A military signal sent by Major MD Mikaailu outlined that both Kingsley and Ukachukwu were taken to Magami General Hospital where Ukachukwu was confirmed dead.
Since 2019, a string of JTF soldiers fighting Boko-Haram, particularly in the nation’s north-east, have committed suicide and/or turned their guns on their colleagues.
A report by Sahara Reporters claims that little to no rotations in the region, coupled with poor welfare and ill treatment by higher ups fuels soldier’s poor mental health.
Furthermore, Sokoto has been a target of Boko Haram attacks since 2012, when militants began their insurgency in the state by detonating VBIED’s outside the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police and the Unguwar Rogo divisional police headquarters simultaneously.
Boko Haram’s 11 year insurgency in the state as well as ongoing kidnappings of civilians by bandits are likely fueling Nigerian soldier’s mental and emotional fatigue.
However, some steps have been taken to address soldiers’ mental health concerns. In 2022, the Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association (DEPOWA) announced the establishment of a PTSD diagnostic, treatment, and research center in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.