Following the report by Reuters that over 100 soldiers were killed in an attack by the Islamic West African Province (ISWAP), a faction of Boko Haram on a military formation in Metele, Borno on 18th November, the Nigerian army has on Wednesday released an official statement containing the casualty figures from the incidence.
According to the statement released on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, by Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, “one of the Nigerian battalions (157 TF Bn), deployed under the auspices of the MNJTFt was attacked at their base on the outskirts of a town called METELE on 18th November 2018, during which the troops were forced to withdraw, resulting (as at Wednesday) in the death of 23 personnel while 31 personnel were wounded in action and have been evacuated to several medical hospitals within Borno State.”
Explaining that Nigerian troops deployed in the North East under Operation LAFIYA DOLE have in recent weeks come under series of attacks by large numbers of Boko Haram Terrorists, the spokesman said the Nigerian Army troops deployed at KUKAWA, NGOSHE, KARETO and GAJIRAM came under attack at different times within a 2 week period from 2 – 17th November 2018.
As contained in the statement, although “each of these incidents were successfully repelled and several members of the terrorists were killed, a total of 16 personnel were killed in the course of these attacks while 12 soldiers were wounded in action and are receiving treatment at military medical facilities.”
The Nigerian Army further commiserated with the families of the gallant officers and soldiers that paid the supreme price in the course of defending their fatherland, while assuring that all necessary support will be rendered to the MNJTF to reverse the resurgence of the Boko Haram Terrorists.
“The sacrifices of these fallen heroes will not be in vain. We also wish all those wounded in action speedy recovery and assure them of our continued support and care.”
The statement also said that “the Nigerian Army in conjunction with sister services and other security agencies have systematically degraded the capabilities and capacity of Boko Haram terrorists and many successes were achieved. But in the last 2 – 3 months, have noticed daring moves by the terrorists, increased use of drones against its defensive positions and infusion of foreign fighters in their ranks. These potent threats require us to continually review our operations.”
Addressing the issue of its ongoing conference holding at Maiduguri, he explained that on account of the incident of 18th November, “the conference had to be moved from Benin City to Maiduguri to enable the Nigerian Army leadership get closer to the troops on the ground and to better appraise its activities, assess its performance and identify its shortcomings as an Army.”
“The Nigerian Army, wishes to reiterate and pledge its total commitment to the defence of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We wish to reassure all Nigerians of the commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend our country at all costs. We shall also continue to remain apolitical, professional and responsive in the discharge of our constitutional roles,” the statement added.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.