Nwezeh Kingsley in Abuja and Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Military authorities said yesterday that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole clashed with insurgents along Damboa-Maiduguri Road, killing 17 insurgents and losing two soldiers, contrary to reports that 20 soldiers died in an ambush by the terrorists.
More than 20 soldiers were said to have lost their lives to an ambush by Boko Haram in Borno State.
Sources within the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and security circles told THISDAY in Maiduguri that 23 soldiers were killed and two injured in the ambush.
The sources revealed that the deceased soldiers were attached to 25 Task Force Brigade, Damboa in Borno.
The sources said the soldiers ran into an ambush along the Maiduguri-Damboa road as they were returning from a five-day clearance operation, on Tuesday.
But the DDMO said two soldiers died in action during the fierce encounter.
It said the troops of 25 Task Force Brigade deployed at Damboa in conjunction with elements of Sector 2 Special Forces while on clearance operations along Damboa -Maiduguri Road, made contact with a Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province criminals’ ambush team along their axis of advance.
“In the aftermath of the encounter, 17 Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province were neutralised as several others were believed to have narrowly escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds while a cache of arms and ammunition were equally captured by the gallant troops”, it said.
It said “two valiant soldiers paid the supreme price while four others were wounded in action. However, the wounded in action soldiers have been evacuated to a military medical facility and currently responding positively to treatment”.
The update signed by the Coordinator of DDMO, Major General John Enenche, said the Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole was directed to immediate deployment of special forces battalion to reinforce and dominate Damboa – Bulabulin – Maiduguri axis to completely deny the terrorists any chance of escape during the final assault against the criminals.