By Michael Olugbode
The military said 20 members of Boko Haram/ Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) were killed during an attempt by the terrorist group to capture Monguno, a town in troubled Borno State.
This is coming as the United Nations has raised the alarm that a four-year old girl was killed in the attack and 33 others injured.
The United Nations however said more civilians could have been killed or injured in the battle that raged for about two hours, which also led to destruction of its humanitarian hub in Monguno.
Speaking to THISDAY, the Head, Public Information Unit, UN-OCHA, Nigeria, Eve Sabbagh, said: “Non-state armed groups penetrated Monguno town and clashed with military for about two hours. A four-year old girl was killed in the clashes and 33 injured. (There may be more civilians killed or injured).
“The non-state armed groups reached the area of the humanitarian hub. The hub sustained light damage. All the vehicles in front of the hub were set ablaze. And an unexploded missile was found at the gate.”
She said: “There were more than 50 aid workers inside the hub at the time of the attack.”
Sabbagh who described the attack as unfortunate, said: “With COVID-19 we are trying to scale-up some key prevention actions and it is critical to continue working in Monguno camps which are overcrowded. There are 150,000 IDPs in Monguno.”
The military in a press statement issued yesterday, however claimed that: “The Ground troops of Sector 3 and Air Task Force Operation Lafiya Dole successfully repelled attack on Monguno town and inflicted heavy casualties on Boko Haram /Islamic State of West Africa terrorists who attempted to breach Munguno town in Borno State on Saturday, June 13, 2020.”
The military in a statement signed by the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, said: “During the combined brave Sector 3 counter attack and precise ISR and munition delivery by the Air Task Force, 20 Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters were neutralised and 4 of their gun trucks destroyed. The troops also captured some of the terrorists and their equipment.”
Enenche added that. “The High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria commends the Land component and Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole for the dexterity and professionalism exhibited during this operation. The troops are further encouraged to remain resolute and decisive in their ground and air offensives in the theatre .