The Nigerian Army on Friday said 16 soldiers were missing after an operation to clear the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in Gongon village in Alagarno General Area of Borno State.
Major General Lucky Irabor, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, stated this while briefing newsmen in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Irabor added that 16 soldiers and three civilian JTF members were also wounded during the operation. He said: “On July 20, troops with some Civilian JTF conducted clearing operation at Gongon village in Alagarno general area.
“Own troops destroyed Boko Haram camps and captured a gun truck mounted with an Anti-Aircraft gun, an RPG tube, a Light Machine Gun, three AK-47 rifles and other logistic items of the terrorists. “However, when own troops were returning to their defensive location, they ran into an ambush by the terrorists who came to reinforce their fleeing comrades. “’The troops fought back gallantly killing many of them; sadly, 16 soldiers and three Civilian JTF were wounded in action; some others, including the Commanding Officer, are missing in action.
A search party has been dispatched; so far, six soldiers and four Civilian JTF have rejoined unit, the wounded are stable and responding to treatment. “Currently, there are three officers and 16 soldiers still missing.” Irabor, however, said that the army had recorded successes in other aspects of its operations against the Boko Haram terrorists. Irabor said some of the major successful operations included Clearing Operation in Mafa Local Government Area.
He said: “On June 25, own troops at Zabamari in conjunction with Civilian JTF conducted clearing operation at Masu Yiwa, Ladin Buta, Fazaka, Kesa Gala, Tabla, Fahinde, Shiroro, Gizina, Maska-Aribe and Maska Lawanti in Mafa LGA. “At Maska Lawanti, the army troops encountered the terrorists during the operation but successfully cleared the area. “As a result, two terrorists were killed and two others were wounded, while many escaped with gunshot wounds and two motorcycles were also destroyed.”
Irabor said a member of the Civilian JTF was killed during the operation, while a soldier and a policeman were wounded in action. Irabor said the army also lost an officer, a cousin of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, during an attack at Kangarwa by the terrorists.
He said troops were attacked by the Boko Haram on July 12 at about 6:45pm as they consolidated their hold on the location. Irabor said the troops fought gallantly, killing 25 terrorists and capturing two RPG tubes, one 60mm Mortal tube, two MGs, 12 AK 47 rifles and one LMG.
He added: “The following day, during exploitation, additional three bodies of the terrorists were discovered along with other equipment. “Sadly, however, we lost an officer and a soldier, while 11 others were wounded. “All the wounded have been stabilised, with five of them already returned to the front lines after treatment.”