Boko Haram fighters have reportedly killed 11 soldiers and seized weapons in a raid on a military post in an attack in northeast Nigeria, residents and a military source said yesterday.
This came as military authorities said troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed in Forward Operational Base,FOB, along Mairari in Monguno, Local Government Area of Borno State, Friday, killed 16 Boko Haram insurgents.
Gunmen in five trucks and on motorcycles stormed the checkpoint in Bunari village near the garrison town of Monguno in Borno State late Friday, leading to a fierce battle.
“They came around 6:30 pm (1930 GMT) and attacked the military checkpoint and soldiers responded with fire,” resident Amadu Sheriff said.
“The attackers overpowered the soldiers who took up positions in the trenches dug round the checkpoint from where they fought the Boko Haram gunmen,” he said.
Three civilians, including a woman and her child, from a nearby settlement, were killed by stray bullets, he said.
He said residents of the nearby settlement evacuated on Saturday and moved to Monguno for fear of renewed attacks.
Sheriff had no idea of military casualties but saw “two ambulances carrying dead soldiers” being taken to Monguno, eight kilometres (five miles) away.
A military source who confirmed the attack said 11 troops were killed.
“Four (military) vehicles including an APC (armoured personnel carrier) and a gun truck were carted away by the terrorists,” said the military source who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.
The attackers were repelled with the help of reinforcements from Monguno, he added.
News of the attack was slow to emerge due to poor communication in the area where Boko Haram has destroyed telecoms infrastructure in the last three years.
Meanwhile, according to a statement yesterday, from Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, Deputy Director, Public Relations, Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, the killing of the 16 insurgents followed an encounter that occurred at about 6.50 pm on the fateful day, in Mairari, a village in Monguno local council area of Borno State.
“The insurgents in three vehicles, including gun trucks had infiltrated and attacked the community, when troops at the FOB were alerted by locals.
The troops supported by the Air Task Force swiftly responded to the attack killing 16 insurgents and capturing two gun trucks abandoned by the insurgents, as they tried escaping, having been overwhelmed by the superior fire power from the troops,” the statement said.
It said the “gallant troops also recovered 163 rounds of antiaircraft gun ammunition during the fierce encounter.”
“During the fire fight, four civilians and a soldier unfortunately, sustained varying degrees of injury and have been promptly evacuated to a military hospital, where they are currently receiving medical attention.
“The FOB has been further reinforced with additional troops, while fighting patrols are on the trail of the insurgents who fled the attack.
“Normalcy has been restored and the people of Mongonu Local Government Area are enjoined to remain vigilant and report any suspicious person(s) or activities as they go about their normal business,” the statement added.