Many Soldiers Killed, Army Colonel Missing as Boko Haram Attempts to Reclaim Gwoza
Attempt by the Nigerian army to re-claim Gwoza in Borno State from the extremist Boko Haram sect few days ago resulted in the death of several soldiers who engaged the iusurgents in a gun duel that lasted many hours.
The operation to free Gwoza which was coordinated by the Nigerian Army 213 battalion, Operation Task Force Mike and 234 battalion, based in Mubi, Adamawa State, met a stiff resistance by the insurgents thereby making the soldiers to suffer many casualties and were forced to make a retreat as the insurgents proved insurmountable.
The soldiers were reported to have been led into the battle by Lieutenant Bayedi Martins and Lt. Colonel Agu of the 234 Battalion, formerly Special Operations Battalion (SOB), but their attempt to rescue the town was thwarted as the insurgents proved impregnable, a security source said.
The source said Mr. Agu has not been found.
According to the source, “The soldiers retreated but the militants set off in hot pursuit, chased them and snatched one of their tanks as well as the driver of the tank. They then called the soldier’s wife and informed her that her husband was in captivity.
“We are expecting the corpses of about five gallant soldiers that were killed during the encounter to arrive here today Saturday,” the source said.
Local sources in Madagali said about 30 Hilux pick up vans were used to bring several wounded and dead soldiers back to Mubi in Adamawa.
“When the soldiers beat a retreat, the insurgents gave them a hotchase, catch up with them, killed many and seized one of their tanks as well as the driver of the tank.
“They then called the soldier’s wife and informed her that her husband was in captivity,’’ revealed a top security source.
The defeat suffered by the Nigerian soldiers has finally sealed hopes that Gwoza may be freed any time soon, as the insurgents seem to have gained strength as they allegedly seized many weapons from the soldiers including a military tank.
The Boko Haram insurgents took over Gwoza in a ferocious attack which led to the dislodgement of all security apparatus in the local government as they killed more than 100 civilians and set many houses ablaze.
Local sources in Madagali said that following the encounter, some 30 Hilux pick up vans were used to bring back the wounded and dead soldiers to Mubi in Adamawa State.
Army sources confirmed that Lt. Col Agu was yet to be found since the operation was carried out just as they said that about three military alpha jets have been deployed to the area to assist in the rescue of soldiers who might be trapped in mountains surrounding Gwoza.
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