Buhari mourns as 47 troops killed in Boko Haram ambush

THE PUNCH Newspaper- John Ameh and Olaleye Aluko

The Nigerian military on Tuesday said it lost 47 soldiers who are troops of Operation Lafiya Dole to a bomb explosion in Gorigi near Allargano Forest general area of Borno State.

The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, which stated this, noted that the troops were conveying bombs in a convoy during an ongoing operation, Ayiso Tamonuma, when Boko Haram fired shots at the convoy and the bombs exploded.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, who confirmed the “unfortunate loss” said scores of the Boko Haram fighters were killed during a clearance operation in Allargano Forest, and the troops were returning when the explosion occurred.

He said, “Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have dealt another crippling blow on Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East part of the country. This was achieved at Gorigi in the Allagarno Forest general area of Borno State.

“The routing occurred when the Land Component of the operation conducting clearance operations along the Allagarno Forest axis, as part of the ongoing subsidiary, Operation Ayiso Tamonuma, came into contact with mounted Boko Haram terrorists.

“Accordingly, air assets, including an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform and fighter jets were immediately scrambled to provide close air support to the troops.

“While the ISR platform provided situational awareness to the troops, the fighter jets engaged the terrorists, immobilising a gun truck and neutralising some of the terrorists.

“Sadly, we suffered some casualties in the unfortunate attack. We lost 37 soldiers and we later picked up 10 more corpses. They were not killed by the terrorists; they were killed by a bomb explosion because they were conveying bombs meant for the operation.

“The Defence Headquarters commiserates with the families of our fallen gallant heroes who paid the supreme price in the course of defending our fatherland.”

Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), is in grief over the death of 47 soldiers, according to a State House statement on Tuesday night.

He expressed “profound grief and sorrow’’ over the attack on the soldiers in Gorgi village of Borno State.

“Sacrifices of our gallant patriots cannot be quantified, and their sacrifices cannot go in vain,’’ he was quoted in the statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

Buhari noted that the death of every soldier caused deep pains because he knew what it meant to be a soldier, and fully understood the extreme risks associated with the profession.

He added that “despite the tragedies and incidents, we cannot allow anarchists and mass murderers to hold the country hostage.’’

Buhari appealed to the military “not to allow the incident to affect their morale’’, assuring that his administration will continue to motivate and equip them adequately in order to cope with the complex challenges of unconventional warfare.

“The Nigerian Army has dispatched a team to assess the situation and report back to the government,” the statement added.


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