At least 15 gunmen believed to be Boko Haram fighters were shot dead during a fierce battle with soldiers inside Sambisa forest on Thursday morning, officials said.
The gunmen, according to a release sent in from the 7 Division Nigeria Army on Thursday evening, attempted to attack troops’ base inside Sambisa forest.
The attack came months after the Nigerian military received global accolades when it announced the final defeat of Boko Haram in the once dreaded Sambisa forest in December last year.
To further demonstrate total victory over Boko Haram, the military organised its 2017 Nigeria Army Small Arms (NASA) competition in Sambisa forest where it now has a shooting range.
But on Thursday morning, the insurgents made a daring incursion back into area by specifically attacking one of the troops’ locations in the forest.
A statement by the spokesman of 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Kinsley Samuel, said but for the gallantry of the troops, the attackers who came with heavy arms cache would have possibly taken hold of the captured territory once again.
Mr. Samuel, a lieutenant colonel, and deputy director, Army Public Relations, said the soldiers’ bravery was praised by top officers of the Nigerian Army.
He said, “the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu commended the troops of 21 Brigade of the Division for delivering a devastating deep punch to Boko Haram terrorists leading to the capture of large quantities of terrorists’ equipment.
“The troops resilience paid off with heavy battering of Boko Haram terrorists leading to the terrorist sustaining huge casualties in fighters and equipment. The terrorists paid dearly as the troops neutralized 15 of them and wounded several others.
“In addition, the gallant troops made heavy seizures with the destruction of 1 vehicle bound Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) belonging to the terrorists and capture of 1 Buffalo Gun truck mounted with Long Barrel Shilka Gun, 2 General Purpose Machine Gun, 1 PKM Gun, mortar tubes, 3 AK-47 rifles, 2 FN rifles, 1 G3 rifle. Others are 5 pieces of 60mm mortar Bombs, various GSM handsets, 36 Hand Grenade, 12 rifle magazines, Shilka fill tray, 750 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition, 106 rounds of 32mm ammunition, a 12 volt battery, 3 Automatic Grenade Launcher bombs and 5 mortar charges, among others.
“The GOC enjoined troops to remain resolute in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists and insurgents in the North East in order to ensure total compliance with the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai’s directive that remnants of Boko Haram terrorists are flushed out of Nigerian territory”, he said.
Boko Haram has of recent upped its hostility around troops locations in Borno state.
Few weeks ago, the insurgents attacked a troop location in Sabon Gari, a village along Maiduguri-Biu highway in southern part of Borno.
A number of casualty were reportedly recorded on the side of the troops while a large number of munitions were carted away, before a reinforced deployment of soldier arrived to neutralise some of the terrorists.