© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Kareto Attack: Several Soldiers Killed, Others Missing
The icirnigeria.org has learnt from multiple military and security sources that Monday’s attack on troops at Kareto in northern Borno State left many soldiers dead while some are still missing.
This is contrary to the information released by the Nigerian Army which gave only details about injured soldiers. A soldier serving in Maiduguri said on Wednesday that many of his colleagues serving in the attacked battalion are believed to have been killed in the sunrise attack as calls made to their phones have not gone through since Monday.
A source at the military hospital in 7 Division told our reporter that the corpses of soldiers deposited at the mortuary over two days were more than 50.
According to the source, who cannot be named as he is not officially allowed to speak on the matter, the first set of corpses arrived the hospital on Monday while the remaining ones were brought on Tuesday.
Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, had announced in a statement on Monday the early morning attack on troops of 113 Battalion stationed at Kareto, not far from Damasak, where pockets of Boko Haram members are still active. The army later provided update saying 24 of its men, two officers and 22 soldiers, were injured in the attack and had been evacuated to a military hospital for treatment.
In the statement, Usman said the army was able to repel the attack with the help of air support and that many of the insurgents were killed but he was silent on any casualty on the Nigerian soldiers’ side.
From all indications, some of the missing soldiers might have absconded after the attack or are in the process of doing so.
A soldier in Maidugur told this website on Tuesday that he was trying to raise money for one of his friends involved in the attack, who wanted to travel to meet his family.
“He has not been able to talk much due to shock. He said he just wants to go home but he has not been paid his operation allowance for some time, so we are trying to raise him transport fare,” the soldier said on condition of anonymity.
When contacted for his reaction to our findings, especially about the high casualty, Usman expressed his anger at the question.
“This is the most annoying inquiry I have ever received from you or anyone else. How do you in your imagination think that I will tell lies, more so of our late colleagues?” he said in a text message, adding that the reporter should confirm from his source the truth about the casualty figure.