TERRORISM ARMY DID NOT LOSE 105 OFFICERS TO BOKO HARAM – Army Chief.
Chief of Army staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai has waved aside reports that about 105 soldiers prosecuting the war against book haram terrorists met their untimely death when they failed to return after an offensive to annihilate the terrorists in the North East.
The media had been awash with news that about 100 Nigerian soldiers were missing after Boko Haram attacks in the epicenter of the battle.
But General Buratai in a telephone conversation with Vanguard said, “It is not true that our soldiers are missing. The soldiers went on a mission for the Nigerian nation and they have since returned and joined their Battalions”.
The confident Chief of Army Staff said that insinuation is a figment of imagination of the authors of the story.
Media reports had indicated that the Army may have lost about 150 of its men to an attack by Boko Haram insurgents in Gudunbali, Borno State.
It was claimed that the terrorists attacked at Gudunbali in Borno State, on Wednesday and as a result the 157 Battalion of the Nigerian Army could not account for at least, 105 soldiers including their commanding officer.
According an online media, the terrorists also captured a T-72 tank as well as several artillery weapons from the unit.
“Gudunbali was attacked this morning and some weapons were captured from the battalion. Two officers and 105 soldiers are still missing”.
The terrorists captured a T-72 tank from the unit and some artillery weapons were also captured. The commanding Officer (CO) of the battalion is yet to be seen but no one has been confirmed dead yet,” the source added.
Another source however said the T-72 tank was recovered after a prolonged fight with Boko Haram insurgents. The gunner and tank commander were injured in the process, he said.
Also reportedly captured by the insurgents were eight vehicles, a truck loaded with 60,000 rounds of AA ammunition and three artillery pieces.
Similarly, soldiers of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) stationed at Baga, Borno State also recently came under attack. The attack occurred in Geringiwa at about four kilometers to the headquarters of MNJTF, PREMIUM TIMES has also been told.
According to a source, the military has been unable to completely clear the insurgents from Baga and nearby towns due to inadequate equipment.
Boko Haram carried out a series of mass killings in Baga between January 3 and January 7, 2015, after the army headquarters there was sacked by the insurgents.
Although the military later liberated the town, soldiers stationed in the area have come under constant attacks from the insurgents.
The attacks on the military came on the heels of the suicide attacks on Yola and Kano respectively.
Meanwhile, the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole, has debunked allegations that the Bigeri8an Army lost troops prosecuting the war on terror at Gudumbali in Borno State.
A statement signed by Colonel Tukur Gusau, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations said, “The attention of the Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole was drawn to an online media publication saying troops of 157 Task Force Battalion were overran by the Boko Haram terrorists in Guzamala axis of Borno state and that several personnel were killed and several others cannot be accounted for including the Commanding Officer of the Unit.
“The report also went ahead to claim that the troops loss of equipment to the terrorists.
“The Theatre Command wants to state clearly that the story is a fabrication from the imagination of those sympathetic to Boko Haram ways of life.
“Although the location of 157 Battalion was attacked last Wednesday and was subsequently repelled by the gallant troops of the Unit, the Commanding Officer of the Unit is in contact with his Brigade Commander.
“However, the unit suffers some casualties which is normal in military operations. The affected personnel sustained minor injuries but no gunshot wound was sustained by the troops.
“The number of casualty and equipment lost as being circulated is not correct. The situation was unnecessarily blown beyond proportion to give terrorists the type of propaganda they desired.
“The Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole has addressed the issue and gave journalists the opportunity to ask questions and clarify doubts about the Gudumbali incidence.”