Tuesday, September 17, 2013

16 soldiers killed, many missing in fresh Borno attack

Army authorities disclosed, yesterday, that 15 soldiers and a
lieutenant have been killed by Boko Haram terrorists along the
Baga-Maiduguri Road in Borno State, while 150 sect members were killed
by troops of the 7th Division during a fierce battle with the
insurgents last weekend.
Defence sources, however, contradicted the casualty figure, saying at
least 40 soldiers were killed and 65 others missing in a deadly ambush
by the suspected members of Boko Haram.
Confirming the incident, Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier
General Ibrahim, stated that on September 12, 2013, troops from 81
Battalion under 7th Division of the Nigerian Army acting on
intelligence report gathered that the insurgent had regrouped at
Kafiya forest and were planning to launch an attack.
"Following the information, the troops launched an attack and
destroyed the enemy camp, and during the encounter that lasted several
hours, the troops killed 150 insurgents while one Lieutenant and 15
soldiers lost their lives".
According to the Army spokesman, the enemy camp was well fortified
with anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns mounted on vehicles.
The Army spokesman also disclosed that one Abba Goroma, one of the
most wanted insurgent commanders, on whose head the sum of N10 million
was placed as bounty, was killed in the encounter.
The Federal Government had last year placed a N10 million bounty on
Goroma for any information leading to his whereabouts.
Asked to comment on reports on social media that about 40 military
personnel were killed and 65 of them were missing as a result of the
ambush, General Attahiru dismissed the report, saying it was a
fabrication insisting that only 15 soldiers and an officer were
An online publication quoting multiple defence sources, however,
claimed that 40 soldiers were killed by the sect members while 65
others were missing. The report stated that the army authorities were
miffed by the incident and have ordered an investigation into the
suspected operation blunder that gave the militants such an upper
hand. It quoted army officials as saying that the commanding officer
of the unit that carried out the operation has now been removed from
his post.
The casualty, one of the heaviest for the military in its campaign
against the militant group in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, was
considered a classic case of operational and communication failure.
According to the report, a detachment of soldiers under the 134
Battalion of the 12 Brigade under the Multi National Joint Task Force,
MNJTF, stationed in Kangarwa village in Kukawa local government, had
conducted a reconnaissance to gather intelligence around the area,
during which they established the presence of previously unnoticed
Boko Haram camps.
The soldiers were said to have returned to their base and filed a
report recommending aerial bombardment of the area, preparatory for a
ground operation by troops.
But that plan was cancelled at the final minutes by an unnamed top
official without formal communication to the more than 100 troops that
had already advanced on the area.
"Due to lack of communication, the troop ran into the terrorists
without knowing that the aerial bombardment had been cancelled and
they were caught unawares," one of the sources said.
The soldiers were trapped in the ambush under heavy fire from the
militants who had surrounded the area, leaving at least 40 soldiers
killed. 65 others have remained missing, other sources said.
The insurgents reportedly confiscated a huge cache of weapons from the
soldiers after the attack.
The attack came less than two months after a similar one on August 4,
which also resulted in heavy casualty following a surprise attack by
Boko Haram on a camp at Malam Fatori.

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