Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram terrorists have suffered major setbacks, with the terror group sacking an Army Battalion, killing eight soldiers and wounding 11 others in two separate attacks in three days, reliable military insiders have said.
The army formations involved in the incidents also lost several arms and ammunition, and were yesterday calling for urgent restocking of their armouries, according to reports.
The first incident, involving troops deployed at the Forward Operating Base in Sabon Gari, Borno State, occurred at about 6p.m. on Monday, when over 200 Boko Haram terrorists on motorcycles suddenly descended on the base. It was learned that the terrorists had five gun trucks on which twin-barrelled artillery guns were mounted.
The Nigerian troops fought back, but were dislodged from their location after about an hour of battle. Five soldiers were killed in action, while nine others were injured.
Four other soldiers were missing at press time. Army authorities did not immediately comment on the development.
Army authorities keep mum Efforts to get Army spokesperson, Brigadier General Sani Usman; Defence spokesperson, Major General John Enenche, and Commander of Multi-National Joint Task Force in Maiduguri, Major General Leo Irabor, were unsuccessful.
While Usman and Irabor did not respond to calls and text messages to their respective phone lines yesterday, an assistant to Enenche said his boss was at a meeting. The subordinate, who identified himself as Lieutenant Colonel Olabisi, said Enenche was holding a seminar with defence correspondents and will revert back as soon as possible.
Subsequent calls to his phone two hours later were neither answered nor returned. The initial text messages sent to his line were also not replied to at press time. It was gathered that hours after the unit retreated from its Sabon Gari base, the surviving troops, along with reinforcements from 25 Brigade, returned to the location in several armoured cars and buses in a counter-attack that was largely successful.
Second attack However, two days later, troops of 82 Division Task Force Battalion ran into an Improvised Explosive Device, IED, laid by the terrorists. That attack occurred at about 8:45a.m. yesterday, while the soldiers were on administrative patrol along the Ngoshe-Bokkotinta-Pulka axis. Three soldiers were killed in the incident, while two were injured. The troops also lost one gun truck, one mine lab detector device and four AK-47 rifles.
Our sources said a large number of terrorists were killed in the two incidents, while several others escaped with gunshot injuries.