The Nigerian Army said it lost five soldiers during a fierce encounter with suspected Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) in Magumeri, Borno State.
Spokesperson for Sector 3, Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Ezindu Idima, who made the disclosure in a statement yesterday, said “scores” of the fighters were neutralised, with many others escaping with varying degrees of injury.
He said the encounter occurred when the terrorists attempted to invade Magumeri town, with a view to carting away food items and other supplies.
Idima disclosed that since the launch of a special operation by the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in February, the fighters had lost access to food and other logistics, hence the desperate attempts at attacking vulnerable targets.
He said: “During the encounter, the terrorists suffered heavy losses/casualty. Unfortunately, five soldiers paid the supreme price. Troops have continued to intensify vigilance and high level of alertness to deny the bandits freedom of action.
“Troops of Sector 3, Operation Lafiya Dole deployed at Forward Operation Base (FOB) Magumeri, Borno State, had a fierce encounter with Boko Haram Terrorists on the 3rd of May 2019. The criminals came in numbers to infiltrate Magumeri village in order to loot food items and other valuables.
“The indefatigable troops effectively thwarted the terrorists’ plan through superior fire power.
“During the encounter, the gallant troops exterminated scores of the insurgents and many escaped with gunshot wounds. A pursuit/clearance operation has been sustained to deal with the remaining fleeing criminals.”
Idime added that the Commander, Sector 3 Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Olufemi Akinjobi, had on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff commended the troops for their gallantry, resilience and patriotism.
In a related development, an online medium, Premium Times, has claimed that 15 soldiers died from the encounter.
Contrary to the Army’s account, the report claimed that the terrorists had attacked a military location in Magumeri, last Friday.
The report further alleged that “a captain, lieutenant and 13 soldiers lost their lives” during the encounter, which the Army had described as “fierce”.
The news medium said 19 soldiers, who were wounded during the attack, were evacuated to a military hospital in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, while 20 others had relocated to a safe military base.
Quoting “security sources”, the report alleged that: “Suspected Boko Haram fighters have killed 15 Nigerian soldiers in an attack on a military base in Borno State, security sources said Saturday.
“The terrorists rode into Magumeri Local Government Area and sacked a brigade there about 6p.m. on Friday.
“A captain, a lieutenant and 13 soldiers lost their lives following intense firefight with the terrorists.”