An unknown number of Nigerian soldiers are missing after a Boko Haram insurgents ambushed the troops in a Borno State community (Nguro Gongon), the Nigerian Army has said.
The army also said it was trying to save the lives of 19 other soldiers injured during the ambus on Thursday. Operatives of the Civilian-JTF, embedded with the military squad, were also badly wounded in the deadly clash.
The spokesman of the Nigeria army, Sani Usman, said the injured soldiers have been taken to Maiduguri for treatment, while a search team had been deployed to go looking for the missing soldiers. He did not however say how many soldiers were unaccounted for.
“Today morning, troops on clearance patrol at Guro Gongon village and environs to rout out remnants of Boko Haram terrorists hibernating therein, destroyed the terrorists’ makeshift camps and recovered quite a number of weapons, equipment and foodstuff in the process,” Mr. Usman, a colonel and acting director of army public relations, said.
“The recovered items include 1 Gun truck mounted with an Anti-Aircraft Gun, a MOWAG Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), 1 Rocket Propelled Grenade Tube, 1 Light Machine Gun, 3 AK-47 rifles and motorcycles.
“However, the gallant soldiers basking on the recorded success, returning to their defensive locations, ran into an ambush by a group of Boko Haram terrorists who came to reinforce their fleeing comrades. The troops fought back gallantly killing several of the insurgents.
“Sadly however, 19 soldiers and 3 civilian JTF members were wounded in action while a few others were missing in action.
“The wounded have been evacuated and are responding to treatment, while a search and rescue party comprising of Special Forces personnel has since been dispatched to establish contact with the missing in action troops, some of whom, as at the time of filing this report, have started returning to their defensive location.
“It is pertinent to state that, no stone would be left unturned until every person involved in the operation has been accounted for,” he said.