US soldiers, not less than 12, have trained Nigerian troops on a six-week advice-and-assist mission in Jaji, Kaduna State, Pentagon has said.
The US department of defence said Nigerian army’s 26th infantry battalion might be the next to deploy to north-east to confront Boko Haram.
The department, while documenting some accounts of the US soldiers during the training, said it was important to prepare the Nigerian troops for the threats they faced from the terrorists.
Saul Rodriguez, the most experienced of the 12 US soldiers, 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.”
According to NAN, Kevin Martin of the 10th mountain division Fort Drum, New York, said the troops needed the skills as they faced 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.”
Stephen Gouthro said the life-altering responsibility to prepare Nigerian soldiers was not lost on him, adding 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.”