• Uncertainty over military casualties
By Paul Obi in Abuja and Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
As the military offensive continues in the North-east, about 30 suspected members of Boko Haram were believed to have met their waterloo in the hands of Nigerian troops, when they attempted to ambush a convoy of local government officials and travellers along Bama road after Nguro-Soye in Borno State.
Troops from 121 Task Force Battalion, Pulka were escorting local government officials from Pulka to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, when the incident occurred on Saturday morning, according to reports.
The Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Gwoza Local Government Area, Hon. Saeed Salisu Sambo, who was in the convoy, disclosed that the terrorists detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) and followed it with sporadic gunshots which were immediately repelled by the gallant troops.
The troops were reported to have pursued and overpowered the armed attackers with military precision.
He said: “I must commend the gallantry of the troops led by the patrol commanders of the 121 Battalion, Captain S. Suleiman, and Lt. N. Ayuba.
“The incident happened at about five kilometres into Bama town, at about 10 a.m. on Saturday after leaving Nguro-Soye. The insurgents detonated an IED, followed by sporadic gunshots which were repelled by the soldiers.”
He said six soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries, adding that “more than 30 insurgents were killed by the rocket launcher fired by troops. I vividly saw them running away, as the military engaged them in response”.
The military did not confirm whether soldiers were also killed during the ambush.
However, the soldiers injured during the encounter were rushed to the Brigadier Maimalari Barracks Hospital for medical attention, a source disclosed.
An emergency worker, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed counting the bodies of about 30 terrorists killed after the encounter.
The attack came at a time the Boko Haram insurgents have intensified their fight, resulting in the killing of senior military commanders and several troops in the battlefront.
The new attacks have sent signals of a resurgence of the terrorists, whom the federal government said had been “technically defeated”.