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Many Soldiers Feared Killed in New Boko Haram Attack in Borno

Valentine Chinyem

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Scores of soldiers were feared dead on Saturday in a predawn attack on Sabon Gari village, near Biu, in Borno State.

A resident of Biu, Gambo Muktar, told THISDAY by phone that the insurgents attacked the village about 4am on Saturday and caused havoc. Muktar said as many as 50 soldiers might have died in the surprise assault, which lasted about an hour.

But in a quick reaction yesterday, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) denied knowledge of any attack in Konduga and Biu, in Borno State, by the terrorist group. Defence spokesman, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said he said did not receive any briefing on such attack.

But in Kaduna State on Saturday, armed bandits launched a repeat attack on Kagi village, in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area, that prevented mourners and sympathisers from burying two people the criminals had killed in raids the previous day.

Muktar said the attack on Sabon Gari lasted from 4am to 5am, and the insurgents encountered little resistance from the military personnel stationed about 25 kilometres from Biu, in the South of Borno State.

Biu is considered the birthplace of Boko Haram.

“Many of the soldiers were killed while others fled,” Muktar told THISDAY.
He lamented that many weapons belonging to the soldiers were carted away by the terrorist group.

However, the Acting Director of Defence Information said, “I am not aware of any attack. I have not received any briefing on any attack. The right place to get your information is the Army.”

Attempts to reach the Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, were not successful, as his phone number was switched off.

The Army had earlier refuted a report about a terrorist attack on Konduga, Borno State, that allegedly killed 60 soldiers.

It had tweeted, “The attention of 7 Div Nigerian Army has been drawn to an online publication twitted yesterday, Thursday, 25 April 2019 on a purported massive attack on Konduga, which was solely designed to cause severe panic, utter chaos and pandemonium within the communities.

“The publication is not only false but a deliberate effort to smear and discredit the image and sacrifices of the entire operation as well as the peace in the North East region and the country at large.”

But a source within the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, who preferred anonymity, confirmed the attack on Sabon Gari and, however, said no casualties were recorded.

The source said, “Sabon Gari was invaded by some insurgents, the villagers and some security personnel fled from the village and no casualty is recorded for now.”

One of the deadliest massacres of Nigerian soldiers by Boko Haram occurred in Metele, Borno State, in November last year. Scores of soldiers were killed at 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele. The exact casualty figure is still a closely-guarded secret. The commander of the battalion, Lt. Col. Ibrahim Sakaba, was also killed in the attack.

In the last four years, Boko Haram has attacked and sacked 22 military posts, killing hundreds of Nigerian soldiers. The sacked military posts were in Gajiram, Mainok, Rann, Geidam, Sasawa, Magumeri, Malam Fatori, Gashigha, Kanama, Gamboru-Ngala, Mafa, Damasak, Gudumbali, Garunda, Kunduga, Kareto, Jilli, Arge, Zari, Arege, Metele, and Buni Gari.