Buratai: Army dealt with insurgents in North-east
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Five civilians were killed on Monday night as troops of the Nigerian Army clashed with fighters of terrorist organisation, Boko Haram in Monguno, Borno State.
The clash was coming as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, boasted that the military had dealt decisively with the insurgents which he said were already “pushed away” from the North-east.
Residents of Monguno Local Government Area of the state said that attack by Boko Haram, occurred Monday night at about 10:25 p.m.
Eyewitness accounts said the attack left five civilians dead with several others injured following exchange of gunfire between troops and the insurgents.
“There have been several attempts by Boko Haram to take over Monguno since the beginning of this year. But last night’s attack was deadly. We do not know the number of soldiers or Boko Haram killed but stray bullets killed five civilians and injured many others. It was too bad. Most of us are just returning from hiding”, a Monguno resident said.
A military source within the theatre of war said the clash lasted throughout Monday night, saying the likely high casualty figure on both sides could not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report.
“We fought them throughout the night and managed to repel them. I am not in the position to speak on casualty but casualty figures are bound to come at the end of a battle like this”, he said.
Another source said the terrorist group had made several attempts to break into the town since January but managed to penetrate and attack Monday night through Kuya village.
Meanwhile, Buratai said the army had dealt with the insurgents and pushed them out of the North-east.
Speaking while receiving the Bangladesh High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Mohammad Shammeen Ashan, in his office, Buratai said his experience as an alumnus of Bangladesh military institutions had helped the army deal with the terrorists in the North-east.
“My stay in Bangladesh has contributed to how we have dealt with the insurgents and terrorists in the North-east of our country. Though we are still dealing with them and they are being pushed away from the North-east”, he said.
He said the Nigerian Army would continue to explore available opportunity for further training of its officers and soldiers in the areas of tactics, staff duties and intelligence among others.
Buratai urged the Bangladesh government to also take advantage of Nigerian Army’s military training institutions.
“Our military institutions are also open for training to your officers and soldiers. We have the infantry school, the artillery school, the intelligence school, the amoured school and the cyber warfare school among others and they are all of international standards.
He also urged the High Commissioner to partner the Nigerian Army University in Biu, in Borno State.
Speaking earlier, the envoy told the army chief that he was at the Army headquarters to further strengthen the bilateral relations between both countries particularly to seek for increased military cooperation.
Noting that Bangladesh and Nigeria were strong military contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations, the ambassador said this was because both countries sought for and work for peace and stability in the international community.
“I will do my best to see that both countries sustain world peace” he said.