Atleast four soldiers have been confirmed dead and dozens of terrorists were reported to have been killed during the battle between Nigerian Army and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in Borno State.
Among the four soldiers that died during the clashes that crippled activities within Askira Uba Local Government Area of the state, was Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu.
Also during the clashes, five A – Jet, two A-29, two Dragon combat vehicles, and nine gun trucks were reported to have been destroyed by the Troops of Joint Task Force, North East Operation Hadin Kai of the Nigerian Army.
Confirming the death toll, Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General, Onyema Nwachukwu, through a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday, described the battle as fierce and that it was still ongoing.
The statement reads: “In the fierce encounter which is still raging as at the time of filing this report, troops supported by the Air Component of OPHK have destroyed five A – Jet, two A-29, two Dragon combat vehicles and nine Gun Trucks.
“Sadly, a gallant senior officer Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu, and three soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice in a very rare display of gallantry as they provided reinforcement during a counter-offensive against the terrorists, and successfully defended the location. The family of the senior officer and soldiers have been contacted.
“The Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya deeply commiserates with the families and relations of the fallen heroes. He has also directed that the troops continue in the ferocious counter-offensive and hot pursuit to eliminate the remnant of the fleeing terrorists”, it added.
The attack occurred one month after two soldiers were killed and dozens of others sustained injuries when gunmen attacked their patrol team in Kagara, Niger State.
Confirming the casualties figure, Niger state governor, Sani Bello, said that the injured soldiers were responding to treatment and would be on their feet in no distant time.
He said the situation calls for a review of tactics, adding that aside from the kinetic efforts being made, a support system will be evolved for those deprived of their livelihood through banditry or cattle rustling.