The Nigerian army has finally reacted to the Boko Haram attacks on Nigerian soldiers, the most recent in Metele, Borno state, northeast Nigeria.
Concise News had quoted an AFP report, saying the Boko Haram splinter group killed at least 44 soldiers in attacks on three military bases in Borno State, northern Nigeria at the weekend.
The report stated that out of the 44 soldiers, no fewer than 43 were killed on Sunday in Metele, a remote village near the Nigerian border with Niger, according to a military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Giving an account of the incident, a military officer stated, “Our troops were completely routed and the terrorists captured the base after heavy fighting,” adding that the base commander and three officers were among the dead.
Reacting to the development, the Senate on Thursday ordered its committees on Army and Defence to investigate the killings as well as welfare and wellbeing of Nigerian troops fighting the insurgency.
The Senate also resolved to visit officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces at the battlefield, particularly in the Northeast.
This online news medium reports that the attack on the 157 task force battalion stationed in Metele left scores of soldiers dead while some are still missing.
While some estimates put the casualty figure at over 100, the army while commenting on Friday, failed to divulge the death toll.
The army’s statement read: “The attention of the NA has been drawn to several social media, print, electronic and online publications about the recent attack on 157 Task Force Battalion at Metele. Whilst it is true that there was an attack on the location on 18 November 2018, it has however, become necessary to correct several misinformation being circulated with regards to this unfortunate event.
“It is important for the public to note that the NA has laid down procedures for reporting incidents that involve its personnel who fall casualty in action. Out of respect for the families of our gallant troops, the NOKs are first notified before any form of public information so as to avoid exacerbating the grief family members would bear, were they to discover such from unofficial sources.
“Furthermore, it suffices to observe that several social media, print and online publications have been brandishing false casualty figures as well as circulating various footages of old and inaccurate BHT propaganda videos and alluding same to be the attack on 157 Task Force Battalion. Whilst it is understandable how such misinformation can spread in this era of social media frenzy, the spurious circulation of some of these videos only contribute to further propagate the propaganda intent of the terrorists; to misinform the populace and portray themselves as what they are not. So far, the situation is that the location is under control as reinforcing units have been able to repel the terrorists and stabilize the situation.
“The NA sincerely wishes to thank the various arms of government, MDAs and sister security agencies that have stood with her in these trying times; by commiserating with the families of the fallen heroes who have paid the supreme price for the defence of our dearly beloved country. The necessary support being given the NA by the Federal Government and the goodwill of the Nigerian populace will undoubtedly continue to spur the NA towards the ultimate defeat of the highly degraded BHTs.”
Meanwhile, in a swift reaction to the attack, President Muhammadu Buhari dispatched Mansur Dan-Ali, minister of defence, for an emergency meeting with Chadian President Idris Deby.