Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Over 40 soldiers have been lost to rampaging Boko Haram terrorists in the last two weeks, despite claims by the military that the Islamic terror sect had been “technically defeated”. This is in addition to the military’s loss of some of their prized weapons, including five gun trucks, to the insurgents.
In the latest attack by the insurgents on Thursday, 26 soldiers were killed in Northern Borno.
A source in the Army told THISDAY on Saturday that a military base between Monguno in Borno State and a yet to be identified village in Yobe State was ambushed by Boko Haram fighters, resulting in the death of the 26 soldiers. The source also said the insurgents carted away “a scorpion battle tank, M Rap, and two gun trucks” belonging to the military. He lamented that two weeks ago a group of soldiers from 133 Special Force Battalion were dislodged between the Yobe and Adamawa border. The source said in that attack, 15 soldiers were killed and 10 others were missing.
The soldier, who was apparently worried by the turn of events for the military, said apart from the loss of personnel, three gun trucks were driven away by the rampaging insurgents.
Another source within the military lamented that it was sad that some of the attacks on the military were kept out of the media. He alleged that there was a deliberate attempt to paint a bright picture of happenings in the troubled North-east.
Some of the soldiers, who spoke anonymously, said the insurgents had the capacity to move and attack military targets on the fringes of the country in the North-east. They said the insurgents had five gun trucks with them now, all seized from the military, and with this they can launch attacks on military formations.
One of them, said, “In fact, the insurgents have been attacking our facilities in Northern Borno and part of Yobe with success in recent times. The morale is really low within our ranks and something should be urgently done about this.”
Lamenting that most of the reports concerning military casualties were being concealed, he said, “They just paint a picture that everything is okay, especially as we are approaching the elections and they want Nigerians to believe that they are on top of security in the country.”
Meanwhile, a report by AFP claimed that at least 30 Nigerian soldiers were killed in combat with Boko Haram jihadists who overran a military base in the North-east near the border with Niger. The news cable said two military sources told its correspondent. It reported that scores of jihadists in trucks stormed the base at Zari village in northern Borno State late Thursday and briefly seized it after a fierce battle in which 30 soldiers were killed.
All attempts to get spokespersons of the military in Borno to confirm the story was unsuccessful, as the mobile network in Maiduguri was bad as at last night.