The Nigerian Army has confirmed the killing of a Colonel, a Captain and three soldiers by Boko Haram insurgents s about 30 persons in Borno and Sokoto states were wiped off the face of the Earth in the unabated killing spree in Nigeria.
While suspected armed bandits in Sokoto State allegedly killed over 20 persons in Dan Tatsako Village of Goronyo Local Government Area, in Borno State, the hotbed of Boko Haram bloodletting, an Army Colonel, a Captain with his four escorts and a driver were also allegedly killed on Thursday by some fleeing terrorists between Mainok and Jakana, along the Damaturu/Maiduguri Highway.
A source in Sokoto told Channels TV that the assailants arrived in the village at night armed with sophisticated weapons and started shooting sporadically claiming that apart from the 20 persons killed, houses and other properties were destroyed by the rampaging bandits.
According to the source quoted by the television station, survivors of the attack allegedly fled the village to seek refuge in nearby communities within Goronyo and Isa Local Government Areas of the embattled Sokoto state.
Though the Spokesman of the Police in Sokoto, Mohammed Sadiq, who confirmed the attack added that the casualty figures were yet to be ascertained, sources told The Nation, a newspaper published by a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, that the Army Colonel and his convoy ran into some fleeing insurgents, who were retreating after a heavy gunfire exchange with soldiers at Jakana.
According to the newspaper, the attack lasted for hours. A military source has however, denied insinuations that it was an ambush.
‘’The Colonel was just unlucky to run into the insurgents on his way from Maiduguri to Damaturu. He did not know an attack was ongoing on the highway’’, the source said, confirming that the Colonel was from 29 Task Force Brigade of Sector II of Operation Lafiya Dole.
Though the insurgents did not attack the civilian population, another source however, said two civilians were killed in the Jakana attack following stray bullets.
The Deputy Director, Public Relations, Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Isa Ado, gave the confirmation in a statement in Abuja, pointing out that the incident occurred on Wednesday in Jakana area of Borno, adding that the officers and soldiers were on transit from Maiduguri to Damaturu when they ran into an ambush by the terrorists.
While adding that troops of 212 Battalion deployed at Forward Operating Base (FOB), Jakana, dealt with the insurgents, neutralising unconfirmed number of them, Ado said that Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists tried to infiltrate the military base to garner logistics but were repelled by the troops.
According to him, the terrorists came at about 1845 hours in seven Gun Trucks and fought fiercely to infiltrate the camp, but the attack was thwarted with heavy fire and bombardment by the gallant troops.
‘’The terrorists could not withstand the fire power of the troops after losing significant number of equipment and personnel in an exchange of fire. They lost initiative and withdrew in disarray along Benisheikh-Damaturu axis and abandoned a damaged utility gun truck which was earmarked to convey looted items.
‘’Troops immediately followed in hot pursuit and captured one anti-aircraft gun, two Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) Tubes, two AK 47 Rifles, 15 machine gun rounds and 12 AK47 NATO rounds. Sadly, a Colonel and a Captain as well as three soldiers on transit from Maiduguri to Damaturu ran into an ambush staged by the fleeing terrorists from the Jakana axis, which led to their unfortunate death’’, Ado said.
He said that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, had commiserated with the families of the fallen heroes, adding that Buratai had reiterated that the army would never be deterred in the ongoing “noble and patriotic fight against terrorism and insurgency in the North-East’’.
According to him, Buratai commended the efforts of the entire troops in the theatre and charged them to remain focussed, highly committed and professional in the discharge of their constitutional roles.
‘’The sacrifices of the fallen heroes in the ongoing fight against terrorism and insurgency is no doubt painful to all. But, that will further spur us to do more to ensure that our country remain secure, peaceful and free from terrorist activities for the overall interest of the nation’’, he quoted Buratai as saying.