Boko Haram: Nigerian Army recovers corpses of 16 missing soldiers

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian Army troops clearing Boko Haram enclaves along Bitta to Tokumbere, Sambisa Forest, Borno state

The Nigerian Army on Wednesday said one officer and fifteen soldiers have been found dead in a major river northeast of the country.

The sixteen personnel were part of the 46 officially declared missing more than six weeks ago.

Lucky Irabor, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole who made the announcement, said the soldiers were found dead in River Yobe,

“The corpses were recovered along Kamadogou River line area in Maiduguri,” Mr. Irabor, a major general, said.

Mr. Irabor said the departed soldiers included K. Yusuf, a lieutenant colonel.

Prior to his kidnapping and ultimate death, Mr. Yusuf was the commander of Nigerian Army 223 Tank Battalion.

“They have since been buried in Maimalari Cantonment Cemetery with full military honours,” Mr. Irabor said.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how about 83 soldiers manning a Forward Operation Base in Gashigar, Borno State, went missing in a major Boko Haram attack on the evening of October 16, 2016.

After initial resistance, the poorly motivated troops abandoned their base and scampered for safety.

As they retreated, some soldiers jumped into River Yobe to escape the advancing insurgents. The terrorists opened fire nonetheless, killing some of the troops and wounding others.

Mr. Yusuf was amongst the personnel this newspaper reported as missing.

For several weeks, PREMIUM TIMES stayed on the unfortunate story with updates, including how the Army later raised a panel to probe the incident as well as the notifications sent out to families of some of the missing personnel.

Two senior Army officials contradicted themselves while trying to deny our reports.

The Boko Haram insurgency has caused the death of about 20,000 people since 2009.

The terror group has, however, suffered major loses including losing its stronghold Sambisa forest to soldiers last December.

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