Boko Haram strikes again, sacks army battalion, kills Nigerian soldiers, seizes arms

FILE PHOTO: Boko Haram
FILE PHOTO: Boko Haram

Nigerian troops fighting the extremist Boko Haram sect have suffered major setbacks, with the terror group sacking an army battalion, killing eight soldiers and wounding 11 others in two separate attacks in three days, reliable military insiders have told PREMIUM TIMES.

The army formations involved in the incidents also lost several arms and ammunition, and are calling for urgent restocking of their armouries, our sources said.

The first incident, involving troops deployed at the Forward Operating Base in Sabon Gari, Borno State, occurred at about 6 p.m. on Monday when over 200 Boko Haram terrorists on motorcycles suddenly descended on the base.

The terrorists, according to those familiar with the incidents, had five gun trucks on which twin barrel artillery guns were mounted.

The Nigerian troops fought back gallantly, but were dislodged from their location after about an hour of fierce battle.

Five soldiers were killed in action while nine others were seriously injured. Four other soldiers are yet to be found as at the time of this report

Army authorities did not immediately comment about the development.

Efforts made by this newspaper to get Army spokesperson, Sani Usman; Defence spokesperson, John Enenche; and head of the Army’s operations in Borno, Lucky Irabor, were unsuccessful.

While Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, and Mr. Irabor, a major general, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to their respective phone lines on Thursday; an assistant to Mr. Enenche, a major general, said his boss was at a meeting.

The subordinate, who identified himself as Lieutenant Colonel Olabisi, said Mr. Enenche was holding a seminar with defence correspondents and will revert back as soon as possible.

Subsequent calls to his phone after about two hours later were neither answered nor returned. The initial text messages sent to his line were also not replied to before this publication.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that hours after the unit retreated from its Sabon Gari base, the surviving troops, along with reinforcements from 25 Brigade, returned to the location in several armoured cars and buses.

The counterattack was largely successful, but the army is currently lamenting the loss of their equipment, arms and ammunition in the incident.

Our sources gave a list of equipment carted away by the terrorists to include three Steyr Armoured Personnel Carriers, one gun truck mounted with anti-aircraft ammunition, and 9 self-propelled guns.

The terrorists also carted away 16 AK47 rifles, one HF radio, two rocket-propelled grenades, two 60MM mortals and all the reserved ammunition and drugs in the base.

But two days later, just as the army was trying to address the loss caused it by that incident, troops of 82 Division Task Force Battalion ran into an IED ambush laid by the terrorists.

That attack occurred at about 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, April 19, while the soldiers were on administrative patrol along the Ngoshe-Bokkotinta-Pulka axis.

Three soldiers were killed in the incident while two were wounded.

The troops also lost one gun truck, one mine lab detector device and four AK 47 rifles.

Our sources said a large number of terrorists were killed in the two incidents while several others escaped with gunshot wounds.

The latest Boko Haram attacks despite the efforts of the Nigerian soldiers indicate they have not been completely defeated. The terror group has lost virtually all the territory it once controlled to Nigerian forces and displaced persons have since started returning to such communities.

The recent attacks also come about one week after the world marked three years since the abduction of over 200 female students by the Boko Haram from Chibok in Borno State. President Muhammadu Buhari has, however, indicated his administration’s determination to ensure the return of the 195 girls still believed to be held captive by the terror group.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The post has been edited to reflect the correct designation of Lucky Irabor, a Major General.


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  • wode

    This isn’t a good news.

  • Africa

    All hands must be on deck to defeat this monster called Boko haram. Islam is clearly not a religion of peace.

    • isiaka

      please, don’t be sentiment in making comment. try to update your brain before comments.

      • Africa

        The brain is not a machine that you update, you low life scum……..
        No sentiment here, I am calling it the way it is. Senseless killings in the name of what god? Moreover, the so called muslims in the MiddleEast don’t consider Nigerians real muslims. The religion ‘Islam’ is destructive pure and simple!

    • obiora

      Ask Buhari First if You are not a member of Islamic Faith ,If Islam is a religion of Pease or of Baboon that drink Blood.

  • ukoette ibekwe

    The mago mago continues. Let this administration and the army continue to lie to the people.

  • Kevin Peter

    It seems the “defeat” of Boko Haram and their so-called stronghold Sambisa is only being politicized otherwise where lies the strength of a “defeated” militant group with ability to sack a whole battalion? God save us.

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    But, what is Nigerian army really doing to arrest once and for all the continuing Boko Haram insurgency terrorism as the joint chief of army staff of Nigeria and commanders of various battalions must put heads together and re-plan how to nip the Boko Haram terror group tactics and eliminate Boko Haram from the Nigeria political space.Solideirs must permanently be stationed in the North-east region and patrol the streets of Northeast region regularly.

    • Otile

      Yeah, soldiers must be permanently stationed in the North East…, to be killed and maimed. Are you ready to volunteer yourself? It is easy for you to hide in peaceful Canada where you are holding tight to your French blonde and call for our youths to kill and maim one another so that your masters stay in power. Olorun ma je.

  • musa aliyu

    I’m not a soldier but what baffles me each time this type of attack occurs is, immediately after they have ceised equipment for Nigerian Army what stops the aeriel unit from striking them because then they are at a vantage position to do so?

    • GusO

      I think the Nigerian Army does not have the equipment for soldiers on patrol or even for a battalion to contact the Air Force directly. Due to years of corruption, the armed forces was neglected since President Shagari’s administration. So, we don’t have a modern armed forces. In a modern army patrol, the soldiers will have either air force ground controllers co-located with them to call in the air force as soon as an attack begins or some army soldiers are trained to perform such roles. Until the armed forces adopt modern practices, we will continue to unfortunately lose soldiers.

  • SAM .A

    Mr President , declare a state of emergency in Borno , your APC state , mobilize all the civil servants there to do urgent census and finger printing of all males , and their passport photograph urgently .After this exercise, Let 5 – 10 of Battalions of Nigeria Army sweep through the state combing the nook and corners , Let all adjourned borders be closed . Nigerians are tired of renegades of BH striking back and killing our soldiers and civilians . There should be an end to this malady

  • Patrick Otobo

    May the soul of our departed soldiers rest in perfect peace!! Amen

  • Mizch

    Is this new reliable? PMB already DEFEATED Boko Haram long ago?

  • Freedom Bini

    This war goes behind what the eyes could see. The locals are giving the Boko Haram information.

    • Shehu Monguno

      The locals? unfortunately Boko Haram is the only source of livelihood for many local young men

  • marc umeh

    This is unfortunate but it once again butresses my belief that the war is unwinnable despite the propaganda. The population are secretly but steadfastedly supporting BH. It takes sabotage , intelligence and organisation to gather 200 men and materials together , assign duties and practice their strategy without anyone noticing.
    They are never short of weapons . They can always get restocked by the nigerian army.

    • GusO

      Constantly getting resourced by the Nigerian Army is worrisome. The Armed Forces should get their act together.

  • FreeNigeria

    The defeated and dead Boko Haram has risen and regrouped. Let’s see how Liar Mohammed and the Army will spin this. Corruption will never let Nigeria win this war against these soulless terrorists.

    • systematic

      that is your prayer wicked human bin, i pray may god trow you to boko haram trap

      • FreeNigeria

        Then throw you in the pit of hell where you rightly belong. It’s a known fact that the military is corrupt and indiscipline beyond words can express. Winning the fight against terrorists anywhere in the world is not a choice, but what must be achieved, because anyone can be a victim, including you.

        • systematic

          no matter how we found our selves we will continua to pray for peace and progress of this country Nigeria,so any body whose prayer is negative will be on his own

          • Netanyahu

            Goat.

  • Stevebira

    How long shall this continue? And the APC government keeps telling Nigerians that Book Haram has been defeated. While Syria, North Korea, China, Russia, the U.S, etc are testing their missiles & weapons in anticipation for WW3, Nigeria still battling with Book Haram. When will Nigeria carries out her own missile test, is the APC government testing their missiles on the masses?

    • Wilson Esate

      Missile test, you mean? You don chop belly full?

  • Kefas Samu

    So sad and demoralizing. We need more intelligence and unity to round up these evildoers, we can’t let them scoup weapons bought with taxpayers money from our military bases and amoury.
    If we let them get strong we may have a serious crises of international proportions and weaken our democracy and national cohesion.

  • Remi

    Some things do not add up here. How can a group of 200 men
    (of Company strength) overwhelm a group of 800 men (of Battalion strength) – who
    are so well armed, going by the amount of equipment and ammunitions reportedly captured
    by Boko Haram? The approach of 200 men on motor bikes cannot be kept as a
    secret, so how come that the battalion seem to have been taken by surprise
    during this attack?

    One thing that has always characterised this war is the seeming
    lack, or non-application, of intelligence by our forces. Granted that our forces are fighting among a
    hostile population and against the backdrop of sabotage from within, however,
    it should still be possible to leverage on the prevalent poverty to recruit spies
    from the local populace. Air support also seem to be lacking in the counter-insurgency
    operations; for example, was it not
    possible for that battalion to call for air support during this attack? Or there are no helicopter gunships or planes to
    deploy?

    Finally, and this requires actionable intelligence, there is
    the need to draw the enemy out by taking the war to him through sabotage and commando
    raids on his hideouts by special forces
    units.

    • GusO

      I have the same questions you posed. But I read from another newspaper that it was a roadblock manned by Nigerian soldiers rather than a battalion that was overwhelmed by Boko Haram insurgents. But overall, I’m not impressed with the ability of the Nigerian Officer Corps to handle BH effectively.

      • Remi

        GusO

        Maybe, but some further questions which that “alternative
        news” source pose are: why they had so much equipment, arms and ammunition at a
        roadblock, with some of them apparently unmanned? Was there no response unit
        nearby that could rapidly come to the rescue and support of that roadblock, in
        the event of an overwhelming attack and given that it was so especially endowed
        with so much equipment, arms and ammunition? Sometimes in combat, a commander
        comes to the conclusion that it is either tactically untenable or unwise to
        hold on to a position, in which case a withdrawal is ordered; however, what a
        wise commander does in that case is to make the capture of that position as
        useless as possible or as costly as can be for his enemy to hold. Hence, could
        the army not have sabotaged the equipment and ammunitions they were leaving
        behind as they withdrew, assuming it was an orderly withdrawal?

        As you rightly pointed out, the leadership of the Nigerian
        Army – especially at the strategic level – had been less than sterling in
        prosecuting this war; even if one concedes to them that it is a particularly
        difficult type of war for a conventional army to fight. It appears that they have not been dynamic and
        responsive enough in reacting to the battlefield challenges that they faced. Rather
        than strong leadership flowing, especially from the strategic level during the
        Jonathanian era, what we had were complaints about insufficient arms and
        ammunition (and sabotage from within); yet, unbeknownst to us all at the time, they
        were serving as the quartermasters of Boko Haram. When you are fighting an
        enemy who largely depend on you for it’s own supplies and equipment, is it not
        possible to make some, if not all, of your own equipment impossible for him to
        use, in the event of capture? For
        example, there are technologies that can be used to either remotely immobilise
        (or remobilise) or track vehicles; could these not have been used on our APCs
        and transport vehicles, such that the enemy finds them impossible and unattractive
        to use? If these technologies – which
        are available on the market, if one knows where to look – did not come with
        these vehicles on purchase, I am sure some smart guys at army signals, army
        engineers or the technical departments of some other sister service, could have
        helped them rig these devices on their vehicles. Sometimes in war, – especially
        when you are dealing with a wily enemy – it is the wits and will of your army,
        far above her wares, that work.

    • Admonisher

      Not a battalion. Nigerian journalists are mostly half educated and very lazy

      • Otile

        Were you there? Instead of praying for our troops who are perpetually suffering punishment and defeat at the hands of Boko Haram you are blaming the journalists. It this what you call kill the messenger?

    • Otile

      My friend, you must understand that this is not people’s war, it is rather a political war, an unpopular war. Don’t you feel for young boys and girls who are sacrificed to kill themselves so that some people must rule Nigeria? What are youths on both sides of this_stupid war dying for? Did any foreign country invade the North East of Nigeria? The only motives driving the war are power to dominate, and oil money to be made in the exchange of fire. Don’t be deceived.

      • Remi

        Otile

        Firstly, your response appears cryptic and abstract on some
        issues, hence I can only respond to them on presumptions.

        Secondly, I think we should distinguish two issues, namely,
        the contexts in which the Boko Haram insurgency is being fought – first is the broader,
        strategic while the second is, the narrower, tactical, contexts.
        My commentary was about the latter. While I believe that the former context
        feeds into, aids and fuels the latter context, however, I will be quick to
        point out that concrete agreement on the validity of the former context,
        remains an issue of debate.

        Thirdly, and if what I am inferring is what you are
        thinking, to wit that, Boko Haram is the political creation of some people
        intent on grabbing and retaining the power they lost, then I will tell you that
        the person from whom they grabbed power remains largely to blame for his
        predicament. More especially for not applying himself assertively and strongly enough
        to the problem – when he had the authority to do so – and thus allowing some
        people to steal his lunch. A Commander-in-Chief declares a war, and all his
        army commanders – his appointees, by the way – tell him is how that war cannot
        be fought and won because they do not have arms and there is internal subversion,
        within their ranks – and, yet this C-in-C cannot ask hard questions and crack
        the whip. Then you wonder what the value of his position is and the value of
        the oath that he took to defend the nation’s integrity? Meanwhile, his commanders had all along been (un)wittingly
        acting as the enemy’s quartermaster.

        Fourthly, whereas, Boko Haram may have at various times had political parents, however, it essentially remains
        a fundamentalist religious, jihadi-salafi movement that believes in a violent overthrow
        of the extant political, social, religious, cultural and traditional order,
        which is at variance with it’s own prescriptions. Sadly, the absence of a robust
        counter-narrative to its pernicious doctrine , and an effective countervailing
        force, has granted it such staying power and endurance. To that extent, it is a
        present and abiding danger to those who you presumably believe sponsored it to
        grab power and to all other modern nation-states in the region. And, this is
        why it is important to fight and eliminate it and not to conflate what it is
        saying with the legitimate question of the (in)divisibility of Nigeria.
        Whether, or not, Nigeria is divided, the peoples of Chibok, Jos or Enugu, to mention but a few, have a right, an inalienable right, to live on
        their land, as they wish and not be
        governed according to laws imposed by others – no matter the claim of
        such laws to divine origins .

        Fifthly, to the extent that freedom is worth fighting for,
        there will always be wars and since omelettes cannot be made without breaking
        eggs, then people – civilian and soldiers – will die. One therefore regrets and
        deplores these losses, and wished they could be minimised by the leadership of
        the army applying itself to the war, more intelligently and patriotically.

        Finally, if my assumption (or do I say, inference) in (3)
        above is true, then it obviates the
        argument that the Boko Haram insurgency
        is being fuelled to give some people political power and wealth accruing
        therefrom; because, the war should have ended now that they got the power.

  • Muhammad

    The effort of FG is not enough because there were several report about equipment and logistic supply to the troop at the war front . more military hardware needs to be supply to troop. Some of the hardware are damage because of lack of spearpart to repair them. Our air power is low the alpha jet which is for ground attack is not that effective and the N7 air to air jet does not have the latest version of day and night telescope . the fact is that we need a powerful ground attack jet like su24 or f18. We have money to get this
    The money for super tocano is too expensive if u look at it compare to su24 which is about $11million and f18 is just $18 million dollars. Spending about $600 million dollars for just 12 air craft is high .

  • Muhammad

    I hard that the FG and Russia hard a deal to sell about 15 mi35 sophisticated helicopter. The helicopter is a multirole helicopter and is the latest and one of the most advance helicopters in the world .so far so good two have arrived since last year December 2016 and it will be unveiled on deployed to the N/E on Sunday .

    • Daniel

      Your case is called illusion.

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    The same Boko Haram that the regime of certificate forger and perjurer Muhammadu Buhari claims it had defeated? Yeye dey smell.

  • Nigeria4u

    Buhari is the cause of this rubbish, he gave Bokoharam millions of US Dollars in exchange for few Chibok girls and he also released many Bokoharam leaders and fighters under detention.

  • NwaIgbo

    Where was the Nigerian Air Force when 200 enemy convoy was on motorbike, any intelligence coordination between the infantry and Air Force? This is regrettable as we lost some innocent but gallant soldiers, may their souls rest in peace.

  • Otile

    Does it mean that this war with the Islamists will never end? It seems the only things going on well in this war are propaganda, and lies. How much is this endless war costing us in hard currency? Generals Buratai, Usman and other highly placed officials in the Nigerian army must be raking windfall and laughing all the way to the bank for their roles with equipment and other money yielding materials that war brings.

  • Admonisher

    This is not a battalion that was sacked please. Accurate reporting is always important. The Nigerian Airforce is the best defense against these snap attacks which are always very very patiently planned by Boko Haram. In fact it does appear that the longer they plan the more effective and the objective is always to seize weapons.

    • Daniel

      Cry me a river. Where is Buhari?

      Let him address the nation asap!

    • Iliyasu Biu

      Yes am wondering why for one hour the Nigeria Airforce did not arrive for air support? Hmmmm. Something is wrong?

  • International games

    Until African Muslims see the Arab and Turkish Muslims as their former slave masters, and not their brothers, we will continue to deal with this nonsense.
    Why can’t our Northern leaders speak as Africans to their people? They cower before these fake Lebanese and Saudis all the time, but these are the same people arming these goons, so as to deplete our money on Arms/
    At least the treatment blacks receive in Arabia should inform them.

  • Charlie

    “Sacks a battalion”? What does that mean? A battalion is comprised of 500 to 800 soldiers. Does that mean that boko haram killed that many soldiers? How credible could an ignorant reporter be?

    • Jon

      A battalion is 1,001. That is, 1,000 soldiers plus one commander. Boko Haram is using guerrilla warfare and it is very difficult to defeat. They hit unexpectedly and run. Any boko haram captured should be summarily executed. They are nuisance to Islam and humankind.

    • objwriters&analysts

      This news is also reported on Vanguard and other news platforms. Vanguard reports that Boko Haram sacks an army battalion. Are Vanguard reporters also ignorant?

    • Sonny Martin

      A Boko Haram reporter?

    • Orphic

      If Boko Haram didn’t kill them, it means that many abandoned their frontline positions in the face of a Boko attack i.e they ran away.

  • MammanJiyaVatsa

    This isn’t Nigerian Army, it’s an Army belonging to the Northern Nigeria. as “Hausa” language is their official language, and to rise to the commander position or be a General. there are two conditions.

    1). Either bear or attach an Islamic name to your name and be a Muslim.
    2). You be a Northern origin, not South, East or West.

    Ask these two retired senior officers like Gen. Diya – South West.
    Major General. Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu – South East.

    They will tell you the Nigerian Army in which they served indeed belongs to the Northern Nigerian Army.

    Why ?

    Because the the Northerners leading the Army and self promoting themselves into the General ranks are all of low intellectual and academic intelligence – Period !

    • Burbank

      And Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin the Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff is a northerner muslim hailed from Sokoto (Not from Ekiti State) and Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) of the Nigerian Navy is another muslim Northerner from Sokoto and Not a Christian from Cross River State !!!

    • okpada

      Gen Ike Omar Nwachukwu’s mother is from Kano state; and he was virtually brought in Kano with is younger siblings like Sanda and three others. He did not bear the name because of promotion or something else.