Residents of Mubi confirmed that Nigerian troops numbering up to 480, were seen on arrival from Maroua, most of them looking haggard and wearing tattered clothing.
They were ferried back to Nigeria by military trucks, according to witnesses.
The soldiers supposedly fled a Boko Haram rampage in the border town of Gamboru when they came under superior firepower, but the Defence Headquarters in Abuja said on Monday the troops were “charging through the borders in a tactical manoeuvre”.
Spokesman for the DHQ, Major General Chris Olukolade also confirmed yesterday that the troops were back but declined to state their location.
“Yes they are in the country but I will not confirm their location,” he said.
On Monday, Cameroonian army spokesman Lt Col Didier Badjek said the Nigerian soldiers who crossed the
border were disarmed and accommodated at a school in Maroua.
Nigerian military authorities said later that following talks with Cameroon military “the issues have been sorted out. Subsequently, the troops are on their way back to join their unit in Nigeria.”
In Mubi, witnesses said the soldiers were conveyed back yesterday in batches by military trucks, but it was not clear whether the trucks transported them all the way from Maroua.
“At first, residents panicked before but they soon discovered they were Nigerian soldiers,” a resident told Daily Trust.
Another resident told the BBC Hausa of how they saw the returnee soldiers: “As we came out of our homes in the morning, we just saw the Nigerian soldiers, who were said to have crossed over to Cameroon, all over the place, and looking for where to get food.
“Some of them were holding their weapons, while others don’t have weapons. But their number would likely
He added: “If you see them, you must pity them, because as someone who works for the army, but due to the condition they found themselves, they had to run away.”
Defence Headquarters said the troops who returned from Cameroon were addressed by the General Officer Commanding the 3 Division, Major
General Zaruwa, “as they embark on another mission in the counter-terrorism campaign.”
“All the soldiers are in high spirit with all their weapons and equipment intact,” the DHQ added.