Boko Haram kills 50 Nigerian, 100 Chadian soldiers … Buhari expresses grief


At least 50 Nigerian soldiers were reportedly killed in an ambush by Boko Haram in eastern Borno State, with neighbouring Chad losing about 100.

“The Nigerian military suffered some casualties in the unfortunate attack,” Defense Ministry spokesman John Enenche said Tuesday while talking to the media in the capital, Abuja.

While Enenche did not reveal the number of casualties,  DPA through local witness accounts reported the figure to be between 50 and 75 soldiers.

Enenche said that the attack took place on Monday near Goneri, where the militants attacked a military vehicle transporting explosives and ammunition. The resulting blaze led to a high number of casualties.

The attacks are the latest in a series of offensives that Boko Haram has launched in Chad, Niger and Cameroon, in addition to northeastern Nigeria.

According to the United Nations, 36,000 people have been killed and close to 2 million have been displaced in northeastern Nigeria since Boko Haram began its insurgency in 2009.

But according to Chadian President Idriss Deby, nearly 100 of his country’s troops were killed in another attack by the Boko Haram militants. The seven-hour assault on an island army base was the deadliest yet by the Islamist terrorist group against the armed forces in Chad.

“We lost 92 of our soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers,” in the attack overnight Sunday in Boma, Deby said. “It’s the first time we have lost so many men.”

The attack took place on the Boma Peninsula, in Lac province, which borders Niger and Nigeria.

Even the reinforcements sent in to help were targeted, a soldier told AFP.

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“The enemy has hit at our defenses hard in this zone,” AFP quoted a senior officer as saying.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday expressed “profound grief and sorrow’’ over loss of soldiers who were ambushed by terrorists in Gorgi Village, Borno State.

The President made his feelings known in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja.

He said: “sacrifices of our gallant patriots cannot be quantified, and their sacrifices cannot go in vain,’’ and commiserated with their families and those that sustained injuries.

According to President Buhari, the death of every soldier causes deep pains because I know what it means to be a soldier, and fully understands the extreme risks associated with the profession.

He said, “despite the tragedies and incidents, we cannot allow anarchists and mass murderers to hold the country hostage.’’

The President appealed to the military “not to allow the incident to affect their morale’’.

He assured that his administration would continue to motivate and equip them adequately in order to cope with the complex challenges of unconventional warfare.

The presidential aide revealed that the Nigerian Army has since dispatched a team to assess the situation and report back to the government.

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