The deadly insurgent Boko Haram sect has reportedly killed as many as 15 Nigerian soldiers in two separate attacks in Yobe.
According to a Premium Times report, more details have emerged of the daring Boko Haram attack on a military base near Damaturu, the Yobe State capital on Tuesday.
The attack was targeted on the base in Sasawa village, near the Yobe State capital.
Although the army is yet to provide details of the attack, a spokesperson confirmed it on Tuesday.
“Yes, there was an attack and we repelled it,” Kayode Ogunsanya, a colonel, and spokesman of 3-Division Jos, said, adding that “there were casualties on both sides.”
Efforts to get Mr. Ogunsanya to provide more details on Friday were unsuccessful. He did not return calls or respond to text messages.
The Commissioner of Police in Yobe State, Abdulmaliki Sumonu, also confirmed to journalists that the village was attacked on Tuesday night.
“The attack happened on Tuesday night; we are still working on the details,” Mr. Sumonu said on Wednesday.
Top military insiders have now told Premium Times that at least one officer and 10 soldiers were killed in the attack.
Seven other soldiers who were also part of the attacked troops are still unaccounted for, our sources said.
We have details of the officer, a lieutenant, who died in the unfortunate incident but this newspaper is concealing his identity as we are not sure his family has been appropriately informed of the development.
A large cache of arms including two gun trucks, communication radios and small arms were also carted away by the Boko Haram fighters.
“Large quantity of foodstuff were also carted away by the Boko Haram,” an official said.
Boko Haram has in the past weeks amassed large quantity of arms after attacks on military formations or during ambushes on troops, our sources said.
One source, a top military officer, was worried that the captured ammunitions are those the insurgents will use in carrying out further attacks on troops.
“Sadly, the Boko Haram has amassed large quantity of arms, ammo and high calibre weapons from the army within one week”, the source said.
“These same equipment would be used against own soldiers and civilians. They brutally attacked the soldiers and escaped neatly into their hideouts.”
However, while the Sasawa attack is the most recent, military sources told Premium Times it was the second such attack within one week on soldiers fighting the Boko Haram in the North-East.
On October 18, at about 12 noon, members of the terror group attacked an army convoy led by the Commanding Officer of 81 Battalion, a lieutenant colonel (name withheld), along the Damboa-Maiduguri road.
The soldiers were said to be on their way to Maiduguri from their base in Bulabulin.
Four soldiers were killed and five others injured during the attack, sources told Premium Times.
Three of the slain soldiers were corporals while one was a warrant officer. Their names are also being withheld until we are sure their families have been contacted.
“The military lost weapons, equipment and a hilux vehicle including a ground to air communication radio in that attack,” one military source said.
The two recent attacks on soldiers occurred despite the successes by the military against the insurgents in the past two years.
The terrorist Boko Haram sect has lost most of the territory it once controlled in the North-east but it is still able to carry out sporadic attacks, many of them on civilians.
The insurgency has caused about 100,000 deaths since 2009 and displaced over two millions people, mainly from Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima said in February this year while delivering a paper on “Managing the Boko Haram Crisis in Borno State, Experiences and Lessons for a Multiparty, Multiethnic and Multireligious Nigeria” in Abuja.