By Abdulkareem Haruna
Two soldiers paid the supreme price in a fierce battle with Boko Haram terrorists in Baga town of Kukawa local government area of Borno state, officials said.
A statement by the spokesman of the Army, Sani Usman, a brigadier general, said the Special Forces of the Nigerian Army displayed an uncommon gallantry by giving the insurgents a bloody nose.
Baga is a major commercial town in northern Borno which Boko Haram captured recently.
The military had repeatedly denied that Boko Haram captured Baga after dislodging soldiers of the Nigeria military, including those of the Multi National Joint Task Force.
But in the statement he issued Thursday night, the army spokesman said troops were able to reclaim the community after a heated gunbattle.
Sadly, the statement indicated that two soldiers of the special forces of the Nigerian military lost their lives in the battle, while five others suffered injuries.
Mr Usman said several Boko Haram terrorists were “dealt with” while troops continued to go after the remaining fleeing insurgents.
He did not however, give details of casualties recorded on the side of the outlawed Boko Haram group.
The statement by the army spokesperson reads:
“In the determined efforts to wipe out remnants of Boko Haram terrorists that now goes by the appellation of Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), the gallant troops of the newly formed Nigerian Army Special Forces Command (NASFC), Operation LAFIYA DOLE, have given the terrorists that attacked troops location in Baga a bloody nose.
“The triumphant troops, particularly the highly revered 707 Special Forces Brigade which is the vanguard of the great exploit, dealt the decisive blow that neutralised several terrorists along that axis despite prior warning to them by some unpatriotic elements.
“The Special Forces commenced clearance operations on 28th December 2018, where they cleared Zare, Gudumbali, Kukawa and Cross Kauwa without any resistance from suspected terrorists.
“However, at Cross Kauwa, the unfortunate ISWAP terrorists made a costly mistake of raising their ugly heads. In professional fashion the troops exploited the situation to instantly and decisively neutralise the insurgents and captured some equipment.
“Though some of the terrorists attempted to infiltrate troops camp at Monguno, the gallant troops lured them and neutralised many of them and recovered some arms and ammunition.
“The troops who are in high spirit had since linked up with other forces in Baga where they cleared the Naval Base and the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, in the process, the Special Forces lost one officer and a soldier, while 5 other soldiers sustained injuries. The remains of the two fallen heroes and the wounded have since been evacuated. The injured soldiers are in stable condition and receiving medical attention. The troops are now busy consolidating and clearing vestiges of the terrorists within the northern Borno State axis with special emphasis on the Lake Chad region.
“The Special Forces attained these great strides in close operational synergy with Air Task Force of the Nigerian Air Force who gave Intelligence and close air support by bombarding the ISWAP terrorists. The outstanding and dare devil exploits of the NAF’s pilots gave more courage and fire power to the troops. Similarly, the Nigerian Navy Special Forces were not left out of this gallant efforts.”