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Army denies reports of 23 missing soldiers after Boko Haram attack
THE Nigerian Army has denied reports that about 23 soldiers have been missing after an attack by Boko Haram on Saturday, July 14.
Texas Chukwu, Director of Army Public Relations, in a statement on Monday, described the reports as “untrue and misleading”.
There were reports on Sunday, attributed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that 23 Nigerian soldiers, comprising five officers and 18 soldiers, were missing after they were ambushed by the insurgents at Boboshe village, Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.
As at the time of the report, only three of the 11 trucks deployed to the area had returned to their base in Maiduguri, having suffered a huge loss in the battle with the insurgents, NAN quoted a top military source.
Ahmad Salkida, a journalist who has access to Boko Haram sources, also tweeted a similar claim on Saturday.
Scores were either killed, injured or missing in the operation, in Bama local govt area. This operational setbacks looks like #BH may still have some informants that alert them ahead of planned military campaigns, said the military source who said, “this trend MUST stop.”
— Ahmad Salkida (@A_Salkida) July 14, 2018
Stephanie Findlay, a reporter with Agence France-Presse (AFP), an international news agency, also made similar claim about the attack.
— Stephanie Findlay (@SJFindlay) July 15, 2018
But Chukwu, the army spokesman, said the reports were false.
“The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to news making the round alleging attack on soldiers and capturing of military vehicles by Boko Haram in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State,” Chukwu said.
“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.
“Contrary to the report, the Nigerian Army wishes to put the record straight on the issue and assure members of the public particularly residents of the North East to disregard the report as their safety is guaranteed.
“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 bugged 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.
“Unfortunately, one officer and a soldier sustained injuries and are currently receiving medical attention at the military medical facility.”
While urging members of the public to disregard the media reports, Chukwu cautioned journalists and media houses to always get their reports right “particularly now that numerous successes have been recorded by the troops in the fight against insurgency”.
Reacting to the denial of the incident by the Nigerian Army, Salkida insisted that the ambush happened, adding that there was even a second attack during which the insurgents overran a military facility in Jilli, a town located between Gubio in Borno State and Gaidam in Yobe State, killing more than one hundred servicemen.
“The Nigerian media is now focusing on the 23 missing soldiers. This was the first attack on a convoy in Bama, there was a second onslaught on a military facility in Jilli, Yobe, in that single attack, we lost over 100 servicemen,” Salkid tweeted.