PREMIUM TIMES has obtained more details of the Boko Haram attack in Borno State on Tuesday that led to the death of seven soldiers and an army officer.
This newspaper reported the attack which occurred at about 1:00 p.m. in Mainok, about 60 kilometres west of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The attack is believed to have been carried out by the ISWAP faction of Boko Haram.
The insurgents camouflaged in a police vehicle and approached a military base, a military source in Maiduguri said. They then opened fire on unsuspecting soldiers near their trench outside Mainok village.
Our security sources said the attack lasted about 30 minutes.
“The soldiers were behind the new trench that has been dug outside Mainok when the insurgents arrived in an APC (armoured personnel carrier) that was recently snatched from the police,” another security official who said he witnessed the attack said.
“Everyone was deceived by Boko Haram who used the police vehicle. It was a terrible attack that killed seven soldiers and left many injured.
“As I am talking to you, some soldiers are yet to be accounted for since the attack yesterday.”
Another military source earlier told PREMIUM TIMES that two soldiers were still missing after the attack.
The soldiers had recovered the bodies of their fallen colleagues and moved the wounded to a medical facility for treatment.
Two gun trucks and three anti-aircraft equipment could not be accounted for following the attack, although it was not immediately clear whether they were carted away by the insurgents or temporarily misplaced during exchange of fire.
Sagir Musa, a spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, did not return requests for comments on the attack Wednesday morning.
Mainok is one of the three notorious communities along the Kano-Maiduguri highway where Boko Haram has been staging daily attacks since the beginning of this year.
About two weeks ago, the military command in Maiduguri moved to evacuate residents of the communities near Mainok to an IDP camp following a deadly attack on the convoy of the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Olusegun Adeniyi.
Mr Adeniyi, a major-general, came under heavy Boko Haram fire on January 6 at a location between Mainok and Jakana, which reportedly led to the death of his driver.
The Borno State government halted the proposed evacuation and instead provided 70 brand new patrol vehicles for the security agencies to man the plagued highway.
The attacks on the highway, however, have continued.
The army has not issued any statement on Tuesday’s attack.