BAUCHI, Nigeria - Islamic militants again attacked the remote Nigerian town from which nearly 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped, Nigeria's military said Wednesday, resulting in a firefight that killed 12 soldiers and led angry troops to fire on a commanding officer.
Soldiers said the troops fired at a senior officer who came to pay respects to the killed soldiers, whose bodies were brought to a barracks in Maiduguri.
It's another sign of demoralization in the military that is in charge of the search for the abducted schoolgirls. The failure of Nigeria's government and military to find them after the April 15 mass abduction has triggered national and international outrage and forced Nigeria's government to accept international help last week.
Nigeria's Ministry of Defense played down Wednesday's shooting incident, saying soldiers "registered their anger about the incident by firing into the air. The situation has since been brought under control, as there is calm in the cantonment" in Maiduguri, about 130 kilometers north of Chibok, where the girls were abducted.
But soldiers who were at the scene at Mailamari Barracks said infuriated troopers fired directly at the vehicle carrying Maj. Gen. Ahmadu Mohammed, the general officer commanding the army's 7 Division. He was not hit.
The witnesses said the soldiers were angry because they wanted to spend the night in a village and told their command the road was dangerous after the attack around Chibok. They were ordered to travel instead and were ambushed, with at least 12 killed. The soldiers spoke on condition of anonymity because they want to keep their jobs.
The Ministry of Defense, which often exaggerates the number of enemy killed and downplays its own losses, said four soldiers were killed along with several insurgents.