Following recent attacks on military locations in Borno State, the Army has revealed that in the last 2 to 3 months, it has noticed increased use of drones by the terrorists on defensive positions and infusion of foreign fighters in their ranks.
This was contained in a statement by the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Col Tukur Buratai at the occasion of its annual conference in Maiduguri themed: Optimising the Operational Efficiency of the Nigerian Army Towards Safeguarding Democracy and National Security in Nigeria.
According to Buratai who was represented by Brigadier General, Sani Kukasheka Usman, “these potent threats require us to continually review our operations.”
“The incident of 18th November, 2018 happened at a time when the Nigerian Army was planning to hold the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference for 2018 in Benin City, Edo State. On account of this incident, the Conference had to be moved from Benin City to Maiduguri to enable the Nigerian Army leadership get closer to the troops on the ground and to better appraise our activities, assess our performance and identify our shortcomings as an Army.”
He recalled that Nigerian troops deployed in the North East of Nigeria under Operation LAFIYA DOLE, specifically, the Nigerian Army troops deployed at KUKAWA, NGOSHE, KARETO and GAJIRAM came under attack at different times within a 2 week period between 2nd and 17th November, 2018.
“Each of these incidents was successfully repelled and several members of the terrorists were killed. However, a total of 16 personnel were killed in the course of these attacks while 12 soldiers were wounded in action and are receiving treatment at our military medical facilities.”
“As you are all aware, Nigeria is contributing troops to the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which has its headquarters in N’djamena, in the Republic of Chad. One of the Nigerian battalions (157 TF Bn), deployed under the auspices of the MNJTF was attacked at their Base on the outskirts of a town called METELE on 18th November 2018.”
He noted that during the attack, the troops were forced to withdraw and several casualties were recorded. “As at date 23 personnel were killed in action and 31 personnel were wounded in action and have been evacuated to several medical hospitals within Borno State.”
While commiserating with the MNJTF, he state that all necessary support will be rendered to the MNJTF to reverse this resurgence of the Boko Haram Terrorists.
He assured all Nigerians and the international community that the NA will work optimally, in conjunction with other security agencies to provide a secure environment for peace and unity in Nigeria, especially as, “We are also sensitive to the fact that the nation is approaching an election year and thus we must be prepared to assist in providing security for the peaceful conduct of elections,” he said.
Buratai reiterated the army’s pledge of total commitment to the defence of the Constitution of the country. “We wish to reassure all Nigerians of the commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend our country at all costs. We shall also continue to remain apolitical, professional and responsive in the discharge of our constitutional roles.”
He however said that the army commiserates with the families of the gallant officers and soldiers that paid the supreme price in the course of defending their fatherland.
“The sacrifices of these fallen heroes will not be in vain. We also wish all those wounded in action speedy recovery and assure them of our continued support and care,” he noted while also expressing gratitude to the President, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) who visited the troops including some of the wounded officers and soldiers in the hospitals.
“We also thank His Excellency the Executive Governor and good people of Borno State who have taken the brunt of the nefarious activities of the Boko Haram terrorists. Our gratitude also goes to the Honourable Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs, who have all shown concern and visited the troops.”
Report by: Theresa Igata