Boko Haram fighters
…Buhari expresses grief over killing
By Kingsley Omonobi & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
No fewer than 50 Nigerian soldiers were killed Monday in a deadly ambush by suspected Boko Haram gunmen near Goneri, a village in Yobe State.
Meanwhile, a military source denied that the soldiers were killed in an ambush, saying that an explosion of one of the military trucks carrying bombs and other artillery weapons of the fighting troops meant for consolidation and protection of cleared strongholds captured from the terrorists, exploded unexpectedly, killing more than 47 Nigerian troops inside the forest.
It said 15 soldiers, who sustained various degree of injuries as a result of the explosion, had been evacuated to Maiduguri for medical intervention.
Another source, however, confirmed that the attack, noting that it wiped out an artillery unit of the army.
A security source said the troops were on a special operation called Operation Ayiso Tamonuma, when they were attacked.
Confirming the development, yesterday, Cordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche said: “As you know, we are in a fluid conflict situation and our gallant troops are out there at the frontlines. Between March 21 and 23, 2020, troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, were on clearance and fighting patrol operation to Gorgi in Borno State which was successfully done.
“However, during consolidation they were ambushed by elements of Boko Haram Terrorists, BHT. Sadly, we suffered some casualties in the unfortunate attack.
“However, the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole scrambled immediately and provided close Air Support to the ground troops.
“While the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, ISR, platform as well as the fighter jets engaged the Boko Haram terrorists, immobilising and killing some of the terrorists and immobilising a gun truck.
“Some others, who attempted to withdraw, were also mopped up by the jets in follow-on attacks. The Defence Headquarters commiserate with the families of our fallen gallant heroes who paid the supreme price in the course of defending our fatherland.
“We assure Nigerians that the armed forces and other security agencies in furtherance of the objective of restoring peace and security in the North East and other parts of the country will continue to sustain the offensive against the enemies of our nation.”
Meanwhile, Muhammadu Buhari has expressed “profound grief and sorrow” over loss of soldiers who were ambushed by terrorists in Gorgi Village, Borno State.
The President in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu last night said, “Sacrifices of our gallant patriots cannot be quantified, and their sacrifices cannot go in vain,” while commiserating with their families and those that sustained injuries.
According to statement, “The death of every soldier causes deep pains because he knows what it means to be a soldier, and fully understands the extreme risks associated with the profession.”
President Buhari said “despite the tragedies and incidents, we cannot allow anarchists and mass murderers to hold the country hostage.”
He appealed to the military “not to allow the incident to affect their morale,” assuring that his administration will continue to motivate and equip them adequately in order to cope with the complex challenges of unconventional warfare.
The statement said that the Nigerian Army has dispatched a team to assess the situation and report back to the government.
He added that air strikes and land bombardments by Air and Land components of Operation Lafiya Dole on Buk, a Boko Haram and ISWAP Command Center inside Sambisa Forest between March 21 and 23, 2020, has led to the killing of over 200 terrorists and some of their commanders, with many of their logistics equipment and arms destroyed.