EXCLUSIVE: Nigerian Army officially declares 46 soldiers missing

FILE PHOTO: A Nigerian soldier pull down a Boko Haram flag as a mark of victory
FILE PHOTO: A Nigerian soldier pull down a Boko Haram flag as a mark of victory

The Nigerian Army has officially declared one officer and 45 soldiers missing in a major Boko Haram attacks five weeks ago, PREMIUM TIMES can report.

Consequently, the Army authorities have formally informed the families of the 46 personnel of the fate of their loved ones and requested that their next of kin forward bank details for onward remittance of accrued payments, military sources told PREMIUM TIMES.

The sources said the declaration and notification were contained in a November 20 notice sent by M. Jimoh, the new commander of the Nigerian Army 145 Task Force Battalion in Damasak, Borno State.

Mr. Jimoh, a lieutenant colonel, sent the signal to the 145 Battalion rear base in Ohafia, Abia State, and copied the Army 7 Division Headquarters in Maiduguri and 82 Division Garrison in Enugu.

Also copied were 5 Battalion in Kano; 20 Battalion in Serti, Taraba State; 103 Battalion in Enugu and 119 Battalion in Malam Fatori, Borno State.

Also in receipt of the signal were 143 Infantry Battalion for special forces in Borno State; 144 Battalion in Asa, Abia State; and 146 Battalion in Calabar.

Each of the battalions copied in the signal had soldiers that were part of the 83 missing, PREMIUM TIMES understands.

Mr. Jimoh recently replaced K. Yusuf, a lieutenant colonel who PREMIUM TIMES exclusively identified as the commander of the 145 Task Force Battalion who was among the missing soldiers.

The admission by the army that 46 personnel are missing came exactly five weeks after the soldiers were dislodged from their base in Gashigar, Borno State, by Boko Haram operatives.

The aftermath of the attack was exclusively reported by PREMIUM TIMES, which included how several soldiers drowned in River Yobe and how at least 83 troops went missing with Mr. Yusuf.

The troops were on deployment in Gashigar, which sits on the northernmost edge of Borno State, as part of the ‘Operation Gama Aiki’ aimed at displacing insurgents hibernating around the Nigerian border with Niger and Chad.

The operation was launched in June 2016.

They were manning the Forward Operation Base there when Boko Haram operatives pushed towards them with superior firepower in the evening of October 16, senior military sources familiar with the encounter told PREMIUM TIMES at the time.

After initial resistance, the troops soon abandoned their base and scampered for safety. At dawn on October 17, the leadership of the Nigerian Army was informed that Boko Haram attacked the troops when they jumped into River Yobe, where the sect opened fire and left unknown number of them fatally wounded.

Twenty-two of the fleeing soldiers were rescued by the Nigerien troops and transported to a hospital in Diffa, southern Niger, for treatment, the Army also learnt at the time.

Yet, for several days, the spokesman for the Army, Sani Usman, maintained that the report was false.

But on the same day that he spoke, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole in the northeast, Lucky Irabor, a major-general, claimed only 39 soldiers went missing.

The Army also opened a secret inquiry into the attack after some brigade commanders raised questions about the conduct of the soldiers.

For instance, the commanders said it was difficult to explain how utility trucks were used to dispossess soldiers of their armoured vehicles especially when the soldiers said they were alerted in their various positions.

Senior military officials also found it curious that some of the soldiers were rescued by their Nigerien counterparts with their bullets still largely unspent.

“If they actually came under attack while they were fully at alert, then they should have exhausted their ammunition before taking to their heels,” the source said. “At least that much should be clear.”


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  • B. Messi

    ‘Operation Gama Aiki’???
    ‘Gama Aiki’..meaning ‘Finish the Work’??
    With several soldiers taken-out/Missing, is that a sign of finishing work or STARTING WORK??
    These are people the COAS and APC said have been defeated??
    God forbid bad tin!

    • Hamza

      I wonder O! I just pity the poor soldiers. It is scary.

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    Boko Haram has truly been technically defeated by certificate forger and perjurer Muhammadu (alias Customs and Exercise Book, President Michelle of Western Germany) Buhari’s lying Administration!!! Yeye dey smell.

    • emmanuel

      Mitchelle the President of Germany?
      The only stuff that may be found in Buhari’s brain when subjected to clinical research is the portion of the Quran which help Islamist to kill.

  • Charles

    it is only a boy scout general such as we have in Nigeria can tell you that the sect has been technically or commercially defeated, if you investigate, he must be making that statement from a beer palour over a bottle of burukutu. You know these general by their potty belly.

  • government

    My heart goes out to these fallen heroes.My GOD take care of their families.

  • Hamza

    It is just scary!

  • Senator D

    All these PDP-sponsored news and wailing wailers please leave Bubu alone oooo… Boko boys have been “Technically” defeated…Hahahahahahahaaa

  • emmanuel

    Those Soldiers are soft target to Boko Haram by Liar Mohammed, Kukeshea Usman and Burukutu. Osinbajo the Tea drinker and Toilet Tissue value VP.
    An insurgent group that have military troupe as its soft target; sure have such country under her control.
    I do not hear leave him alone, he is trying to clean up the stable.
    A failed country led by a failed President whose only agenda is Religious and ethnic.
    Soldiers killed anyhow, Country in depression, No policy in place to get out of depression, hold tight to a bunch of brainless management team, holing street currency hawkers as responsible for an unproductive country, believing food sufficiency is enough to drive technological, Automobile, Industrial growth etc.
    How the fight against corrupt enemies have helped to build a nation with new corrupt skills for survival.
    Obasano has refused to write Letters, so that his mammoth theft records will not be unearthed. He worked against Jonathan because he lost some proceeds of his wild roguery during that time.

    • isaaac omafuaire

      What stop you from advising GEJ to unearthed OBJ mammoth theft when he wrote him letters. perhaps, mammoth theft is not corruption. I sympathized with our fallen soldiers that fearlessly protected me and you from the rampaging BH. God bless PMB.

      • emmanuel

        Jonathan was a weakling, but i still preferred him to a sadist President, whose brain power could not carry simple WAEC/Cambridge examination, so he collected reference Letterr and ran away to the Army. I would not be going thrrough the pains i am in today if Jonathans team was still there.
        Tell me he passed in the Officer courses he attended abroad in the Army and i will fill you in on how Children in Private Schools never repeat classes, because their parents would withdraw them if the proprietors do faill them (give them their proper failure grades).
        If Nigeria pay hard Currencies for Army officer to attend a Course, no be im go attend classes, have enough sleep during all the session, collect estacodes and return back with a Certificate of value paid, to sustain the flow?
        Anyway, Oma de fu we gaga, gba kidia totō wo vwi ibio ‘ragha di igarri

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    Pertinent questions :

    1. For how long have they been missing ?

    2. what effort was made on the day these troops went missing to find them and what follow up efforts were made ?

    3. Were these soldiers equipped in the position to resist the ambush or attack which they encountered ?

    There is a tactical incompetence leading to the recent spike in casualties in the NE. The Dubai millionaire real estate investor Tukur Buratai who also serves as Chief of Army has to put up and account for the missing men and officer or step aside and concentrate on his property business .

    • emmanuel

      Like in the days of Jonathan and the Chibok Girls, the missing Soldiers would have been rescued or found if the FG/APC or coldine had taken action immediately.
      Strange enough, 46 missing, including about 18 that died that day, about 63% of a troupe. We learnt that had APC’ and Tank.
      Liars from the pit of hell are the current leaders and get disgraced everyday by nature, Nature does bye passes propaganda and action truth.

  • emmanuel

    I beg make una tell this man make he face Oyibo women when t=dey look for relationship, so that dem go dey give am $50 for yahoo, so that he go stop to disturn us.
    Abi make we pay you off so that you go go manage wetin you gp get?
    Na by force? If you nor sell cement, na MTN recharge card, or rice, or noodles or sugar mummy.
    You don use all the names for this World finish, small time na na Boko Haram or ISIS remain for you to use.

  • marc umeh

    Nigeria need to take a hard look at it’s military and law enforcement. Their actions do not befit a nation of 170 million people.
    The military are supposed to be investigating the loss of these soldiers. Till today, nothing said about that .
    We are supposed to have a senate that should invite the heads of these org and demand explanations. Nothing of that nature happens.The military is owned by the people and not the other way round.