By Kingsley Omonobi, Bala Ajiya & Ndahi Marama
ABUJA — As the battle to bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency by December continues, the Nigerian Army fighting with the support of the Air Force, has killed over 100 insurgents who attempted to take over the headquarters of the 120 Task Force Battalion in Damaturu, Yobe State.
This came as Yobe State Police Commissioner, Mr. Markus Danladi, confirmed that four suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers attacked Buhari Housing Estate and a village on the outskirts of Damaturu, killing 18 people and injuring 25 others in the Yobe State capital early, yesterday.
Meantime, the terror group, yesterday, published a new propaganda video via social media, in which an unidentified fighter read a statement in Hausa and Arabic, flanked by more than a dozen armed fighters. At the end of fighting for the barracks, which also took place early yesterday, seven soldiers were killed, while an officer and eight other soldiers sustained injuries.
The battle of Goniri
According to the military, the battle which occurred at Goniri saw the troops, well-armed with modern fighting equipment, repelling the terrorists who came in droves, seeking to re-establish a base in Yobe State and capture the arms and ammunition from the battalion’s armoury.
A statement detailing the operation, signed by the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman said: “Fleeing Boko Haram terrorists in a great sign of desperation and to create an impression that they remain relevant, in the early hours of today (yesterday) made a futile attempt on 120 Task Force Battalion troops located at Goniri, Yobe State.
“During the encounter, our gallant troops successfully repelled the attack and inflicted heavy casualties on the invading terrorists as all of them were killed.
“After the encounter, the troops recovered a sizeable number of arms; ammunition and other equipment from the terrorists.
“These include one General Purpose Machine Gun, two Rocket Propelled Grenades, nine AK-47 rifles and belted rounds of 7.62 (NATO) ammunition. Others were various wires used for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), seven Primed IEDs, different types of spanners and a torchlight.
“The troops have consolidated on the encounter and are more determined to defend their location and continue to serve as blocking force to any fleeing terrorists from the Nigerian Air Force aerial bombardments and other troops’ artillery fire.
“In a related development, troops of 21 Brigade on fighting patrol from Bama to Ngurosoye, have destroyed Boko Haram terrorists’ camps along that axis.
“While on patrol, the brave soldiers came across some of the terrorists’ hideouts that also served as fabricating area for IEDs and the terrorists’ training area.
“Another patrol along Bama-Kawuri axis discovered and exhumed IEDs and wires for detonation.
“It is important to reiterate that the Nigerian Army, with the support of the Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies, would not relent in its determined effort to defeat Boko Haram terrorists.”
Suicide bomb attacks on Buhari Estate
Meanwhile, Yobe State Police Commissioner, Mr. Markus Danladi, confirmed that four suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers, yesterday, attacked Buhari Housing Estate and a village on the outskirts of Damaturu, killing 18 people and injuring 25 others.
The multiple blasts, according to the police chief, were coordinated, as the housing estate had twin blasts at a shop and vegetable market along Gashua Road, Damaturu.
“The third bomb blast occurred in one of the Fulani villages, nine kilometres from the state capital, where eight villagers were feared killed. Five people were also injured and brought to the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital for treatment,” said Toyin Gbadegesin, the spokesman of the police command in a telephone interview with Vanguard.
Gbadegesin also disclosed: “The first attack was launched at a Fulani village, before the three other blasts were heard around Gashua Road that killed over a dozen people, including three suspected bombers.
“The 18 bodies had been evacuated by rescue teams of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Nigerian Red Cross and the Police to the hospital on Gujba road.”
Mohammed Damagum, a resident of Buhari Housing Estate, also said: “I’m terrified with this morning’s bomb blast here that killed one of the children in Yobe State University. My son was supposed to do his registration when his life was taken away by these insurgents. What have we done to these mad boys maiming and destroying our lives and property in the last five years here in Damaturu?”
Boko Haram’s new video
The insurgent group also, yesterday, published a new propaganda video via social media, in which an unidentified fighter read a statement in Hausa and Arabic, flanked by more than a dozen armed fighters.
The person who spoke in the video did not identify himself, re-affirmed allegiance to the Islamic State group and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
He asserted that Boko Haram, also known as IS West Africa Province, was still under the leadership of Abubakar Shekau, who hasn’t appeared in a video since February.
The man, who spoke in both Arabic and heavily accented Hausa, denied recent claims by the Nigerian military that some members of Boko Haram had surrendered to the army.
He also denied that the military had rescued a number of women and children abducted by Boko Haram, saying the security forces had failed on the battle front and were now resorting to a media campaign to rubbish the insurgents.
“The violent campaign by the group would not be derailed,” he said.