The Nigerian Army has disclosed that no fewer than seven of its personnel were killed with five others sustaining varying degrees of injuries during counterinsurgency operation in Mainok area of Borno State.
It explained that the counterinsurgency operations followed attack on the community by Boko Haram fighters, killing villagers and burning down buildings in the area yesterday.
The Army Director, Public Relations, Brig-Gen Mohammed Yerima, said five other soldiers who sustained injuries have been evacuated to the military medical facility for treatment.
Through a statement on Monday, Yerima said that the officers attached to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed in Mainok came under multi-directional attacks by the terrorists who mounted an unconfirmed number of Gun Trucks.
He added that the intent of the terrorists on gun trucks alongside their foot soldiers was to establish a phantom caliphate in the town by destroying property and maiming residents in the area.
According to him, the terrorists were held by the gallant troops of 156 Task Force Battalion until the arrival of reinforcement teams from 7 Division, Special Army Super Camp Ngamdu and Army Super Camp 4, Benesheik.
“During the firefight which lasted several hours, the gallant troops tactically lured a number of the terrorists into a killing zone within their camp where the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole scrambled Alpha jets and helicopter gunboats which took turns in decimating the already trapped terrorists.
“In the aftermath of the encounter, scores of Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised with their body parts littering the area and a number of their gun trucks destroyed.
“Regrettably, one gallant Officer and six soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice while 5 other soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries. The wounded soldiers have already been evacuated to the military medical facility for treatment. Currently, troops are in full control of Mainok and environ as exploitation for fleeing terrorists is ongoing.
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru has applauded troops of Operation Lafiya Dole for their resilience, commitment, and doggedness and further reassured Nigerians of the Army’s unalloyed commitment to defeating Boko Haram/SWAP terrorists while urging citizens to always avail the troops with accurate and timely information for prompt action,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has consoled families of soldiers who died at the weekend during battle with Boko Haram insurgents.
Zulum, in a statement by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, described the fallen soldiers as heroes, who died protecting the people of Borno and defending Nigeria’s sovereignty.
“Regardless of what happened in Mainok and how it happened as we collectively review the incident, we must first, and importantly, recognize that those soldiers who lost their lives at the weekend were fellow Nigerians; they were parents of children who are now orphans, husbands to wives who are now widows, and loved ones to families and friends now bereaved. They were soldiers of our armed forces who chose out of love for our country, to risk their lives in trying to keep us as safe and to protect the sovereignty of our country. We mourn these heroic soldiers and anyone caught at the unfortunate setback in Mainok. We salute these fallen soldiers for their immeasurable sacrifices and we pray for the repose of their souls. We mourn with the families of these soldiers; we share their grief, commiserate with them and commiserate with the Nigerian military”, Zulum was quoted in the statement.