Three soldiers attached to the Nigerian Army troops of the 119 Battalion and 133 Special Forces Battalion in the Operation Lafiya Dole were killed on Saturday in the Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State, after Boko Haram insurgents attacked the military base.
Our correspondent learnt that troops also shot dead 10 Boko Haram members with the assistance of the Nigerian Air Force Intelligence and Reconnaissance planes around the shores of the Lake Chad.
It was learnt that the Boko Haram members attacked the troops, but were repelled and in the process, the insurgents were killed and several others injured.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, who confirmed the casualty figure, said the troops recovered one Pulemyot Kalashnkova Machine (PKM) Gun, with 67 rounds of ammunition, one AK-47 Riffle with 18 rounds of ammunition, two AK-Rifle top covers and three dane guns with one cartridge.
He said, “Other items recovered included a handheld Motorola radio, an antenna, a copy of the Holy Quran and Boko Haram terrorists flag. Unfortunately, three soldiers paid the supreme price in the course of the encounter, while 27 soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries. The bodies of the soldiers and those injured have since been evacuated for treatment.
“The troops have continued to trail the terrorists that escaped with gunshot wounds. They have also intensified vigilance and they are making concerted efforts to clear the remnants of the terrorists in various nooks and crannies.”
Meanwhile, the army said it had begun the court-martial process for soldiers found to be sympathisers and collaborators of Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East.
The court-martial process would usually lead to a dismissal.
The army spokesman, Usman, stated this in an interview, adding that the civilians among the collaborators would be tried in a court of law.
He said, “The army is progressing in its responsibility to root out Boko Haram terrorists in the north-eastern region. On the arrest of a Borno State local government chairman and a vice-chairman, investigation is still ongoing.
“Before the arrest of these gentlemen, there had been previous arrests of Boko Haram suppliers and collaborators to the point that some of them, even military personnel, were nabbed for cattle rustling as a means of funding Boko Haram terrorists. Investigation is ongoing.
“Those that should be subjected to military laws are undergoing the process of eventual court-martial, while those who are civilians are being taken care of by other organs in the society responsible for such prosecution.
“We have a joint investigation centre comprising of the army and other security agencies. I cannot speak for the centre, but I can assure you that all the Boko Haram sympathisers are being investigated.”