The Nigerian Army has announced that it lost a gallant soldier in an ambush by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.
The terrorists attacked Nigerian Army location at Malam Fatori in northern Borno.
Army Spokesman, Col. Sani Usman, confirmed the incident and the death of one officer and injured four other soldiers. He said the troops fought gallantly, repelled the attack and killed 14 Boko Haram terrorists.
Usman identified the slain soldier as Lt.-Col. Muhammad Abu Ali, the Commanding Officer of 272 Task Force Tank Battalion.
He further disclosed that four other soldiers sustained various degrees of injury during the encounter.
However, Usman said that the troops recovered one General Purpose Machine Gun, seven AK-47 rifles and a large quantity of ammunition. He added that mopping up and exploitation are still ongoing.
Gallant Soldier, Fallen Hero
Lt.-Col. Muhammad Abu Ali, commanding officer of 272 Tank Battalion, is reputed as the army’s bravest commander and fighter against insurgency.
Abu-Ali was hit by several bullets as he tried to reinforce troops after Boko Haram launched a sustained attack on the troops. Six other soldiers were lost in the attack while Boko Haram also lost 14 people.
Mr. Abu-Ali was known for his unmatched bravery in uprooting terrorists. He is also an expert in handling armour tanks,
He was also recognised for the critical roles he played in taking out Boko Haram from many of its strongholds across the Northeast.
Usman described him as ‘hero of our time’.
“It will be recalled that because of the late senior officer’s exceptional bravery and gallantry, he was given an accelerated promotion from the rank of Major to Lieutenant Colonel and was decorated by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, at Gamboru Ngala on Sept. 9, 2015, during an operational visit.”
The timing of the attack has given rise to speculations that Boko Haram acted on an insider information on the troops movement.
The Army leadership had withdrawn one officer and 49 combatants from Mallam Fatori. The terrorists struck shortly after the troops withdrew.