The Nigerian military has rushed an Augusta helicopter to the battle front in Rann, northern Borno, to pick one of the four soldiers wounded in Friday’s fierce battle with fighters of the Boko Haram terror sect.
Nigerian soldiers had killed at least 15 terrorists after the sect members sprung a surprise attack on their location on Friday morning, as exclusively reported by PREMIUM TIMES.
The military moved swiftly shortly after receiving information from battle commanders who requested urgent evacuation of a soldier said to be critically injured, our sources said.
Military insiders told PREMIUM TIMES that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter departed Maiduguri for Rann at around 1 p.m. to convey the soldier to 133 Reference Hospital in Kaduna.
One official said the three other injured soldiers might be evacuated as well if their conditions deteriorate and become unmanageable by medical personnel at the war front.
Before proceeding to Rann, the helicopter made a stop over at Gamboru to pick up the commanding officer of 3 Battalion.
The aircraft is said to have returned to base in Maiduguri.
Military insiders praised military authorities for responding quickly to the request for casualty evacuation, describing the action as “a new high in a renewed push to be extra vigilant and efficient in battle.”
“The pace at which they responded to the distress call is commendable,” one soldier said. “With this kind of efficiency, there will be better morale among troops.”
A gun fight had ensued between Nigerian troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and Boko Haram terrorists at 6 a.m this morning and did not end until after 9 a.m.
Our sources said the battle began when fighters of the terror group launched a surprise attack on troops location in Rann, shooting sporadically.
Troops from 3 Battalion and 112 Task Force Battalion are stationed in the area, our sources said.
The soldiers responded promptly, killing an unknown number of the terrorists, and wounding several others.
The battle raged for over two hours, and when the dust settled, several terrorists were found dead.
One of our sources said more than 15 of the Boko Haram fighters were killed in action.
Another said the figure was much higher, saying many other terrorists escaped from the scene with gunshot wounds.
Both sources however said four Nigerian soldiers were wounded in action, adding that authorities had since contacted the nearby 22 Brigade to send air ambulance to evacuate a critically injured soldier.
Our sources gave arms and ammunition recovered from the terrorists to include two AK47 rifles, four FN rifles, one M21 rifle, 110 X 7.62MM NATO ammunition, 20 X 7.62MM special,, 40 X M21 rounds, 4 X FN extra magazine and two locally made explosives.
Friday’s battle is the first since the military overpowered and chased the Boko Haram sect from the dreaded Sambisa Forest, a fortress from where the group launched attacks on Nigeria for years.
It also came a day after the leader of the terror sect, Abubakar Shekau, appeared in a new video, claiming his group had not been defeated.
The Army immediately shot back, saying the video by Mr. Shekau was a piece of propaganda that should be disregarded.