By Abisola Olasupo
Nigeria Army Monday said the reports that many soldiers went missing after their post was attacked by Boko Haram insurgents were not true.
An AFP reports Sunday said hundreds of soldiers after the attack, a second in days, on a remote military base which held about 734 troops in northeast Nigeria.
The base is reported to be new and the troops arrived there only recently from Lagos.
The reports quoted an unnamed military source.
“Boko Haram terrorists attacked troops of the 81st Division Forward Brigade at Jilli village in Geidam district. The terrorists came in huge numbers around 7:30 pm (1830 GMT) and overran the base after a fierce battle that lasted until 9:10 pm,” the unnamed military source told AFP.
“The base had 734 troops. Currently, the commander of the base and 63 soldiers have made it to Geidam (60 kilometres away) while the remaining 670 are being expected,” he said, without elaborating on their possible fate.
“We don’t know if there were any casualties among the troops. That will be known later.”
Although it acknowledged that there was a gun battle between the insurgents and troops and that the soldiers had an initial difficulty, the Army said none of its troops was captured, calling the reports “misleading”.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to state categorically that the report is not only untrue but misleading as the said report is blown out of proportion by the media,” Army spokesman Texas Chukwu said in a statement.
“The Nigeria Army wishes to state that there was an attempted attack on troops at Kwakwa and Chingori communities in Bama area of Borno State by suspected Boko Haram Terrorists as a result of difficult terrain where our vehicles bogged down.
“The terrorists also attempted to cart away troops operational vehicles but were successfully repelled by our gallant troops with the support of the Nigerian Air Force. About 22 members of Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised while several others escaped with gunshot wounds. (The Guardian)