At least one soldier and several Boko Haram fighters were killed in different two battles between the insurgents and the Nigerian Army, an official has said.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, said soldiers repelled and killed many suspected mercenary fighters of Boko Haram who launched two separate attacks on military locations around Borno State.
The army did not give details on the nationalities of the mercenaries.
Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, said in a statement that the hired mercenaries killed by troops were those fighting on the side of the Mamman Nur faction of the Boko Haram.
In 2016, the Boko Haram group became factionalised following a leadership tussle between Abubakar Shekau and his second in command, Mamman Nur, when the duo disagreed on who to be recognised by Abubakar Albaghdadi-led ISIS in the middle east.
On Tuesday, Mr. Usman said the two attacks by the Boko Haram occurred on Monday.
“A group of suspected Boko Haram terrorists’ mercenaries of Mamman Nur extraction paid dearly with their lives when they dared to attack 81 Division Task Force Battalion’s location at Gulumba Gana in Bama LGA, Borno State”, he said.
Though Mr. Usman did not give the number of mercenaries killed in the first attack, his statement said three Boko Haram members and a soldier were killed during the second attack.
Providing details of the first attack, the official said “troops successfully dealt with the terrorists and pursued those that escaped and recovered 2 AK-47 Rifles and 2 magazines of 9 round of ammunition, 2 AGL bombs, several empty cases of Shilka gun ammunition, AGL bomb and 1 damaged mobile phone handset.”
On the second incident, the brigadier general said soldiers of the 3 Battalion located at Logomani, Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State “neutralised 3 Boko Haram, captured one alive and recovered 3 AK-47 rifles from Mamman Nur faction” when they attempted an attack on the soldiers’ location at night.”
“However, we lost a soldier during the pursuit,” he said.
Meanwhile the Nigeria Air Force on Tuesday commissioned two of its personnel as pilots after successfully completing an 18-month Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas in the United States of America.
The two newly ‘winged’ pilots, according to the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Olatokunbo Adesanya, were “both of the rank of Flying Officer, at the time they went through the primary and fighter jet training “during which they amassed over 100 flying hours each on the T-6 Texan ii and T-38 Talon aircraft types”.
Mr. Adesanya, in his statement made available to journalists, said that “the two officers had earlier undergone an introductory flying training at the US Aviation Academy in Denton, where they flew the Cessna 172 aircraft. They will now be deployed to NAF combat units for tactical training on fighter jets.”
The Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, who officiated the commissioning said the “NAF would not relent in its efforts at human capacity building, noting that the Service cannot function optimally without appropriate personnel training”.
The statement said the two new pilots were winged after other 10 officers who had just completed their one-year pilot training program in South Africa were also winged.