Russia, Korea, Others Train Troops for Final Onslaught Against Boko Haram

Foreign private security personnel from South Africa, Russia and South Korea are on ground in North East Nigeria to train Nigerian troops and are not engaged in frontline combat against Boko Haram.

According to security and diplomatic sources, Nigeria has brought in hundreds of mercenaries to give its offensive against the militant group a shot in the arm ahead of the March 28 presidential elections.

Director General National Orientation Agency, Mike Omeri confirmed that the foreign security personnel on the ground were only engaged in training Nigerian troops.

“There are trainers on the ground to assist in the handling of equipment,” Omeri told Reuters on the sidelines of a news conference in London. “They simulate, they teach. These are the things they do.”

Omeri declined on how many foreigners were involved but said they had come from the same countries that had provided military equipment, citing South Africa, Russia and South Korea.

“Acquisition of recruitment and military hardware is done through a number of processes. There are government-to-government exchanges and there are those who also come through contractors,” he said.

“The contractors’ stay in Nigeria would end when local troops had become proficient at handling the equipment,” he added.

“This is training on site and maybe this is why the people on the ground have been described as mercenaries.”

He declined to predict how long it would take for the military to regain full control.

“We have started the final onslaught.