Boko Haram fighters loyal to the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) on Tuesday launched an attack in Kukawa town in the northern part of Borno State,
During the attack, eight soldiers were killed while three other were injured.
The soldiers were among the troops that were asked to move to Kukawa on Tuesday to address increased Boko Haram activities occasioned by raids for food and abduction of child soldiers and girls for Boko Haram commanders.
They were, however, ambushed by the terrorists who had prior knowledge of their movement.
There were claims in some quarters that the terrorists have taken over Kukawa, but this could not be verified at press time.
According to the source, “troops of 401 Special Forces Brigade were ambushed at Kukawa (on Tuesday).
“The terrorists dressed in camouflage and red barrette ambushed a team of two officers and 28 soldiers. Eight soldiers were killed, three were wounded and two officers got missing, but they were later found,” our source said.
“One MRAP, 4GTs and one ambulance were taken away by the terrorists. In fact, they carried everything. They also burnt one APC (armoured personnel carrier),” the source added.
Another source said the troops were ambushed while they were supervising the excavation of trenches around Kukawa to provide cover for the people.
“There was an attack on our soldiers protecting the people digging trenches in Kukawa town on Tuesday; we lost some soldiers… It was disheartening and unfortunate,” the source who is a top security official, said.
Civilian Joint Task Force member Baba Modu Kukawa said many soldiers were killed and three gun trucks were carted away by the insurgents.
“The whole incident took less than ten minutes. Unknown to the soldiers, the insurgents were very close to where the trenches were being dug. They opened fire on them,” he said.
An indigene of Kukawa who lives in Maiduguri, Masa Alhaji also confirmed the attack but claimed the town was not captured by insurgents.
They also, in the last ten days abducted about one hundred people including young men and girls from Kukawa and adjoining communities, security sources, vigilantes and locals said.
Elsewhere in Magumeri, the terrorists on Monday raided a general hospital in the town, killed a nursing mother and stole drugs and medical equipment before they burnt the facility to ashes.
It was gathered from credible sources that the insurgents stepped up offensive because they were looking for food, additional weapons, more fighters and money to finance their activities.
“The terrorists resolved to continue attacking villages with a view to getting logistics,” a source with deep knowledge of happenings in the war ravaged Borno told our correspondent on Wednesday.
“Considering that it is the rainy season, it is a tough time for both the military and terrorists,” the source said.
Efforts to get the military to comment on the latest attack was not successful as the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Eneche, did not reply to a text message sent to him by our reporter.
However, he had earlier yesterday stated that about 20 terrorists were killed in an ongoing onslaught in the area.
He said, “Bukar Meram, a major ISWAP logistics hub linking other Island settlements of the Lake Chad, which also houses several of their fighters and some of their key leaders, was attacked by an enhanced force package of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets and helicopter gunships which hit designated targets in the area leading to the destruction of the logistics facilities and neutralisation of several of the terrorists and their leaders.”
He said the attack at Dole was carried out after Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions showed a build-up of activities in the area after the relocation of some terrorists from nearby settlements of Kokiwa and Yale.
He said, “Overhead the area the ISR aircraft spotted no fewer than 20 terrorists in the area, which were taken out by the NAF attack aircraft.”
‘Why insecurity persist’
Salihu Bakhari, who is a retired security military personnel and now a security expert, said the rainy season is partly responsible for the spike in attacks, especially in northern Borno.
“Our troops don’t have the requisite fighting equipment that can navigate the vast northern Borno during the raining season,” he said.
“I advise that they should intensify aerial reconnaissance and prepare adequately to confront the terrorists during the dry season beginning from October,” he said.
Another security source said the federal government should consider asking the police, customs, immigrations and civil defence to take over liberated communities.
“Soldiers alone cannot win this war. Once they liberate a community, they should be allowed to move on while the paramilitary establishments should take over,” he said.