At least 50 Nigerian soldiers were killed recently by the insurgent group Boko Haram near Goneri village in northern Yobe state, according to militia officials and villagers.
The soldiers lost their lives in a deadly ambush laid by the insurgents on a moving convoy of troops in the State. “The Nigerian military suffered some casualties in the unfortunate attack,” Coordinator of Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO) John Enenche said at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
The attack, one of the deadliest on the troops recently, came as the military tried to launch an offensive against the armed group that began over the weekend, a military official with the knowledge of the operation told The Associated Press.
The slain troops of Operation Lafiya Dole were said to be on their way back after a successful military operation in Gorgi between March 21 and, 23 when suspected local informants allegedly leaked movements of Nigerian troops to Boko Haram.
Enenche blamed the massacre of soldiers on locals around the area, saying the terrorists leveraged on the information provided by their local collaborators to stage an ambush and shot at military logistics trucks conveying fuel and ammunition. “Sadly, the Nigerian military suffered some casualties in the unfortunate attack,” he said.
But the air component of the operation reacted swiftly, providing support to the ground troops after they were hit by the terrorists. Also, the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform, as well as fighter jets, engaged the Boko Haram, killing some of the terrorists while others who attempted to escape were also mopped up by the jets in follow-on attacks.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, has expressed profound grief and sorrow over the loss of patriots soldiers who were ambushed, noting that “sacrifices of our gallant not be quantified, and their sacrifices cannot go in vain.”
The Nigerian government, should, however, not neglect the fight against insurgency in the country even as it continues to battle the ravaging COVID-19 outbreak.
By Ahmed Iyanda.