16 Soldiers Missing After Boko Haram Attack

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Fighter jets, helicopters bomb insurgents’ camps in Borno

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja with agency reports

At least 16 Nigerian soldiers have been reported missing following clashes with Boko Haram jihadists in the Lake Chad area, military and militia sources told AFP yesterday.

This is coming as the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jet fighters and attack helicopters yesterday bombarded terrorist locations in Ngwuri Gana in Borno State.

The news agency reported that the incident began when gunmen in several trucks attacked a military base and a local market in the town of Kukawa late on Monday, briefly forcing troops out of the base.

“Our soldiers engaged the terrorists in a fierce battle following the attack.
“So far, 16 soldiers are missing, but search teams are combing the general area to locate them,” a military officer told AFP from Maiduguri.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side, but a civilian militia group confirmed that 16 soldiers were missing and also said one civilian had been killed in the crossfire.

Meanwhile, the bombings by NAF led to the death of many of the terrorists and the destruction of the group’s communication centre where its flag was hoisted.

Confirming the bombings, NAF, spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said NAF launched coordinated attacks on various targets.

“The Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole, yesterday, destroyed a Boko Haram camp and neutralised several terrorists at Ngwuri Gana in Borno State.

“The operation was carried out based on human intelligence reports indicating that the settlement was one of the locations from where terrorists launch attacks against troops’ positions and villages around the general area of Kumshe. “Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions later confirmed the presence of a large number of the terrorists in the settlement and also identified a suspected communications centre with Boko Haram flag and solar panels mounted.

“Accordingly, the ATF launched a coordinated attack on various targets within the settlement employing Alpha Jet and F-7Ni aircraft as well as Mi-35 attack helicopters leading to the destruction of communication centre and neutralisation of several terrorists”, he said.
Daramola said “the NAF, working in concert with surface forces, will sustain the tempo of operations with a view to destroying all remnants of the terrorists in Borno State”.