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Boko Haram: Heads may roll in Army over Jilli, Bama attacks

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Molly Kilete, Abuja

There are indications that the Army authorities might sanction some of its personnel on counter-insurgency operations in the North East after the July 14 attack on its locations at Bama, in Borno State and Jilli, in Yobe State.

This was coming after the operational visits embarked upon by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, to the locations of the attack.

Many soldiers were said to have died, others injured, while several others were missing and equipment carted away by the terrorists, a development the Army had since denied.

The Daily Sun gathered authoritatively that the attack did not go down well with the Army authorities especially after a successful outing and activities marking the 2108, Nigerian Army Day Celebrations(NADCEL),  held at Munguno, and attended by President Muhamadu Buhari, on July 7.

To forestall further attacks in the area, Gen. Buratai has designated 21 Brigade, Bama, to a Special Forces Brigade.

It was gathered that the attack was said to have happened because of carelessness on the part of the personnel on duty, who they said, took the relative peace enjoyed in the area for granted.

While the attack at Jilli, a border town linking Nigeria to Cameroon and Niger Republic, was said to have occurred when the soldiers were returning from purchasing some items in a neighboring village,  that of Bama was actually an invasion by the terrorists who paid dearly for their attack.

Reliable sources told Daily Sun that the soldiers at Jilli were attacked when they were trying to recover their operational vehicles which got stocked into the very sandy road.

Three soldiers were said to have been killed in the process, while some others, who did not take their weapons along with them, ran to safety but returned to their base afterwards.

The attack had left the Army authorities to resort to change  in tactics as the terrorists have now resorted to using  military camouflage vehicles labeled “operation last hold”, for their attacks.

Angered by the attack, the Army chief left Abuja for an on-the-spot assessment of the areas and to the locations where he met with the officers and soldiers.

He also visited soldiers injured during the attack in the hospital where they are admitted.

Gen. Buratai, who was accompanied on the visit by some Principal Staff Officers from Army Headquarters, Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE,  Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas  and Acting General Officer Commanding, 7 Division, Brig.-Gen. Bulama Biu.

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At the time of filing this report it could not be ascertained whether or not the authorities had apprehended those found to have been responsible for the operational blunder.

When contacted, Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, confirmed that soldiers had taken over Jilli, which he said was never overrun nor captured by the terrorists.

Chukwu also said that no Nigerian Army soldier was missing as it is being speculated in the media.

In the words of Chukwu,  “We were at Jilli and Bama, with the Chief of Army Staff throughout last week, and none of these places have been taken over by terrorists as it is being rumored in the media”

“I also want you to know that no Nigerian army soldier is missing. Yes we lost two, and some injured, but no soldier is missing our troops are complete”.

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