Boko Haram overruns northeast Nigerian Army base, dozens killed

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) – At least, two officers and 46 Nigerian soldiers have now been confirmed killed while preventing Boko Haram terrorists from overrunning their base on Thursday evening in Zari Village in northeast Nigeria.

The village in Mobbar Local Government Area, Borno State, is near the border with the Niger.

Multiple military sources confirmed on Saturday that 31 soldiers were killed in the attack and 19 wounded. But on Sunday, the sources said that 17 additional bodies of soldiers who lost their lives in the attack have been recovered by a search and rescue team overseeing the aftermath of the attack.

Troops from 145 Battalion who are leading the search and rescue efforts have transferred the bodies to Maiduguri, Borno State capital and heart of the Boko Haram’s campaign of terror, the sources said.

Search and rescue operations have intensified for the remaining soldiers who are still missing in action as of Saturday night.

The latest recoveries of bodies of slain soldiers also come at a period President Muhammadu Buhari has been highlighting the success of his administration in decimating the terror group.

Speaking at an interactive session on Sunday with members of the Nigerian community in China during his trip to the country, the President reaffirmed that his government has succeeded in curtailing Boko Haram insurgents, adding that the terror group no longer controls any part of the country.

President Buhari, in a statement released by his office on Sunday, attributed the success to operations of security agencies deployed to counter insurgency in the north-eastern part of the country.

Thursday’s attack is the deadliest against a unit since Boko Haram resumed its attacks against military formations in July. At least 90 soldiers have now been confirmed killed within the past six weeks. Scores of Nigerian troops were killed in successive attacks in July, which raised fresh concerns about a resurgent Boko Haram terrorists.

The Nigerian Army confirmed the Zari attack in a statement on Friday, but Col Onyema Nwachukwu, Spokesperson for the Theatre Command in Maiduguri, initially said soldiers killed many Boko Haram insurgents when they repelled the attack.

He refrained from commenting on the casualties, a stance that has been in line with recent military posture not to comment on figures of casualties.

Colonel Nwachukwu only stated: “I am only aware of aerial bombardment and the response of the ground troops that left many Boko Haram fighters killed. But I am not aware of soldiers’ casualties and I would not have such information until it gets to my desk.”

Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, Spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, who had largely refrained from commenting to the media on the attack, insisted no soldiers were killed in Zari on Thursday.

But military responders and search and rescue troops confirmed that the casualties have been evacuated to Maiduguri.

The Nigerian Air Force, which said it launched aerial bombardment of Boko Haram positions during its response to the attack, uploaded a short video clip of fleeing terrorists who it claimed were neutralised.
-0- PANA MON/MA 2Sept2018

02 september 2018 17:45:16




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