Boko Haram, bandits on rampage, kill almost 200 soldiers in Nigeria, Chad in one week
From Maiduguri to Shiroro, Niger State in Northern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin, armed men suspected to be Boko Haram or bandits have killed close to 200 soldiers and other security operatives .
In Niger State in Northern Nigeria, the victims were members of a joint security patrol team compromising officials of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police Force and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The attack occurred around Galkogo Forest, in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State last Sunday.
A military source said the security operatives engaged the bandits in heavy gunfire. It is reported that the bandits also suffered heavy casualties.
The bodies of security operatives and volunteers killed during the encounter were immediately evacuated and conveyed to the Minna General Hospital.
A day before the attack, unknown gunmen attacked two villages of Galkogo and Zumba, also in Shiroro local government, killing and injuring several people.
When contacted on the latest incident, the police spokesperson in Niger, Wadiu Abiodun, declined comments, stating that it is a military issue.
When reminded that some police officers were also killed, he insisted that the military be contacted.
“That issue is a pure military issue, I urge you to contact the military because they are the ones handling it,” he said.
Niger State has witnessed series of attacks by suspected bandits, leading to scores of deaths.
Some parts of the state share boundaries with Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, that has suffered several attacks by bandits in the past few years leading to hundreds of deaths.
In another military operation in North eastern Nigeria,, Boko Haram extremists killed at least 50 soldiers during an ambush in northern Yobe state, one of the deadliest recent attacks on troops in Nigeria, according to military sources.
The ambush happened as the military tried to launch an offensive against the Boko Haram militants, according to a military official with knowledge of the operation that started over the weekend. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media about the matter.
The soldiers initially were able to fight back and escape, the official said. They launched another offensive a day or so later and were then attacked from the rear at a place near the village of Goneri called the Gorge, he said.
The Boko Haram fighters inflicted heavy casualties by firing on troop vehicles with rocket-propelled grenades and guns, he said. Survivors were being treated at hospitals in Damaturu and Maiduguri.
A senior army officer confirmed the attack, calling it a huge setback for Nigeria’s army and saying he lost a friend.
The government also confirmed the attack, but did not give a death toll.
“The Nigerian military suffered some casualties in the unfortunate attack,” a Nigerian army spokesman, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, said last Tuesday.
Boko Haram has killed tens of thousands during its 10-year insurgency in northern Nigeria.
Still in the last 7 days, at least 92 soldiers from Chad have been killed in the deadliest-ever attack by the Boko Haram armed group on the country’s military forces, President Idriss Deby said on Tuesday.
“We lost 92 of our soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers,” the president said of the attack overnight on Sunday in Boma.
“It’s the first time we have lost so many men,” he added, after visiting the site of the incident in Lac province, which borders Niger and Nigeria.
The attack on soldiers on the Boma peninsula lasted at least seven hours and reinforcements sent to help out were also hit, one soldier told AFP news agency.
He said 24 army vehicles were destroyed, including armoured vehicles and Boko Haram carried off weapons stolen from the military in speedboats.
“The enemy has hit at our defences hard in this zone,” a senior officer said.
The attack is part of an expanding armed campaign in the vast, marshy Lake Chad area, where the borders of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria converge.
Boko Haram launched an armed campaign in Nigeria in 2009 before beginning incursions in its eastern neighbours.
Earlier on Tuesday, Nigeria’s military reported that scores of Nigerian soldiers were also killed in the northeastern state of Borno near the border with Chad.
The attackers used rocket-propelled grenades and other heavy weaponry in the attack on the village of Gorgi on Monday evening.
It was not immediately clear who the attackers were, but fighters from Boko Haram and the ISIL (ISIS) West Africa Province groups are active in the region.
Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks in recent months on the islands of the Lake Chad Basin.