The Nigerian military authority has debunked the widely circulated media reports that about 105 soldiers participating in the ongoing anti-insurgency war against Boko Haram terrorists went missing while in active combat in the North East.
Chief of Army staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai said the reports were untrue as the soldiers in question have since returned to base camp. “It is not true that our soldiers are missing. The soldiers went on a mission for the Nigerian nation and they have since returned and joined their Battalions,” Buratai said.
Media reports had speculated that the Army may have lost about 150 of its men to an attack by Boko Haram insurgents in Gudunbali, Borno State. It was claimed that the terrorists attacked at Gudunbali in Borno State, on Wednesday and as a result the 157 Battalion of the Nigerian Army could not account for at least, 105 soldiers including their commanding officer.
According an online media, the terrorists also captured a T-72 tank as well as several artillery weapons from the unit. “Gudunbali was attacked this morning and some weapons were captured from the battalion. Two officers and 105 soldiers are still missing”, the media quoted an unnamed source.
“The terrorists captured a T-72 tank from the unit and some artillery weapons were also captured. The commanding Officer (CO) of the battalion is yet to be seen but no one has been confirmed dead yet,” the source added.
Also reportedly captured by the insurgents were eight vehicles, a truck loaded with 60,000 rounds of AA ammunition and three artillery pieces.
However, General Buratai described the reports as “a figment of imagination of the authors”.
Acting Spokesman of the Army, Colonel SK Usman shed more light on what transpired in a short media statement. “Troops operating in the northern Borno State towns of Gudumbali and Kareto had slight setback within the week. However, situation has stabilised. The troops have rejoined their units for further action.
“The earlier media reports were exaggerated. The CO is right now with his soldiers. It’s just a minor setback and such are common in military operations. May God help us all,” Usman, an Acting Director, Army Public Relations (DAPR) said.
By Olisemeka Obeche