Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
A deadly encounter between men of the Nigerian Army members and members of the Boko Haram sect on Wednesday, in Mafa, Borno State, has inflicted casualties on both sides.
The insurgents apparently launched an attack on Mafa again four days after an initial attack left 39 persons dead in the town.
About two hours before the latest attack, governor of the state, Kashim Shettima, paid condolence visit to the town, where he promised to rebuild the destroyed structure and give assistance to the victims.
The attack survivors said, took place at about 4:45 pm when about 30 armed men stormed the town, destroyed all the remaining structures, killed many and maimed others.
The military, however, gave a different version of what happened, saying thatattempts by terrorists to attack Ajiri and Mafa as well as other communities in the outskirt of Maiduguri and Dikwa in the state were foiled.
The director, defence information, Chris Olukolade, a major general, said the ambush mounted by the terrorists to enable them unleash terror on the communities was also cleared by troops on reinforcement mission.
According to him, twenty insurgents were killed in a gun battle that ensued, while some of his men sustained varying degree of injuries.
He added that camps of the insurgents were destroyed in encounters at various forests and mountain locations around Adamawa and Borno States.
The director also condemned the inflammatory pronouncements by some highly placed persons in government and other quarters both within and outside the country on the situation in the Northeast, which he said are false, misleading and intended to demoralize the troops by creating an impression that the military is overwhelmed by the terrorist group.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, it is hereby restated that the Nigerian military cannot by any standard be overwhelmed by the insurgents neither will the devious antics of their sympathisers and sponsors demoralize the fighting spirit of troops,” Olukolade said.
He therefore urged Nigerians to discountenance such propaganda messages and continue to assist the army to combat terrorism in the region.