At the face of heightened attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai has assured the Nigerian Army’s commitment to defend the country “at all cost.”
The army chief, who gave the assurance in a statement signed on his behalf by Sani Kukasheka Usman, said even though Boko Haram terrorists had implored the tactics of using drones and foreign fighter jets, the army remain committed to defeating the terrorists.
According to him, since 2015, the Nigerian Army, in conjunction with sister services and other security agencies, have systematically degraded the capabilities and capacity of the terrorists and many successes were achieved.
“However, in the last 2 – 3 months, we have noticed daring moves by the terrorists, increased use of drones against our defensive positions and infusion of foreign fighters in their ranks. These potent threats require us to continually review our operations.
“The terrorists attacked troops deployed at Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto and Gajiram at different times within a two-week period between November 2 and 17, 2018.
“Each of these incidents were successfully repelled and several members of the terrorists were killed. However, a total of 16 personnel were killed in the course of these attacks while 12 soldiers were wounded in action and are receiving treatment at our military medical facilities.
“As you are all aware, Nigeria is contributing troops to the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which has its headquarters in N’djamena, in the Republic of Chad. One of the Nigerian battalions (157 TF Bn), deployed under the auspices of the MNJTF was attacked at their Base on the outskirts of a town called Metele on November 18, 2018.
“During the attack, the troops were forced to withdraw and several casualties were recorded. As at date 23 personnel were killed in action and 31 personnel were wounded in action and have been evacuated to several medical hospitals within Borno State.
“The Nigerian Army commiserates with the MNJTF at this difficult time and wishes to state that all necessary support will be rendered to the MNJTF to reverse this resurgence of the Boko Haram Terrorists.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to further commiserate with the families of the gallant officers and soldiers that paid the supreme price in the course of defending their fatherland. The sacrifices of these fallen heroes will not be in vain. We also wish all those wounded in action speedy recovery and assure them of our continued support and care.”
He said the Metele attack happened at a time when the Nigerian Army was planning to hold the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference for 2018 in Benin City, Edo State.
According to him, the conference had to be moved from Benin City to Maiduguri “to enable the Nigerian Army leadership get closer to the troops on the ground and to better appraise our activities, assess our performance and identify our shortcomings as an Army.”
“We are also sensitive to the fact that the nation is approaching an election year and thus we must be prepared to assist in providing security for the peaceful conduct of elections. Accordingly, the theme for this year’s annual conference is aptly titled, “Optimizing the Operational Efficiency of the Nigerian Army Towards Safeguarding Democracy and National Security in Nigeria.”
The army chief assured that the Nigerian Army would continue to work “optimally in conjunction with other security agencies to provide a secure environment for peace and unity in Nigeria.”