Troops of the Nigerian Armed Forces have killed a top ranking Commander of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and scores of its fighters in a revenge attack on Saturday at Askira-Uba in Borno State.
LEADERSHIP reports that the ISWAP terrorists had in a reprisal attack over the killing of their members by military jets on Friday, killed Brigadier-General Dzarma Zirkushi, the commander of 28 Task Force Brigade, Chibok, alongside three other soldiers, while on their way to reinforce troops at Bungulwa village, near Askira Uba on Saturday.
It was reported that the troops, who had tactically retreated, regrouped, reinforced and ambushed the ISWAP Commander and killed his fighters in Askira Uba axis.
A military source confirmed that over 30 bodies of the insurgents killed on Saturday have been recovered, saying that troops were still combing surrounding bushes in Askira Uba.
The source added that about nine gun trucks, an armoured personnel carrier (APC) and one Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) were destroyed by the troops.
Meanwhile, Borno State governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, has lauded Nigerian troops for their resilience even as he empathised with them over their loss.
Zulum commended the Nigerian military for putting up a strong resilience in a battle with fighters from the Islamic State of West Africa Province, who launched attacks on a military base in Askira Uba local government area of southern Borno on Saturday morning.
Governor Zulum, in a statement by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, paid tribute to troops at the base as well as troops from neighbouring commands, who mobilised to provide reinforcement for the troops.
Governor Zulum, while commiserating with the military over the loss of some military officers and personnel, thanked the fallen heroes for what he called “their supreme sacrifices to the Nigerian Nation”, declaring that “the people of Borno will remain forever grateful to them and all fallen heroes, and will remain fully supported of gallant troops currently operating in front lines.”
Zulum amid the loss of some officers and personnel, the military was able to mount heavy resistance and recorded gains which the State is proud of.
The governor commiserated with affected residents for the trauma caused them by the attack and shared the pains of anyone who may have turned victim directly and otherwise.
“Today’s (Saturday) unfortunate incident in Askira-Uba local Government area reminds us that while our military, other armed forces, volunteers and all stakeholders make combined severe efforts towards peace-building; while many insurgents surrender their arms to tow the path of peace and while reclaimed communities witness return of peace and access to livelihoods, some insurgents are hell-bent on ensuring we do not fully regain peace.
“The goal of these categories of insurgents should challenge us to remain focused and ceaselessly commit ourselves to supporting our troops in many ways, particularly with logistics on the part of Government, and with credible information and prayers on the part of all of us as people of Borno State.
“We must always affirm our fates in our armed forces, while the armed forces must remain up and doing. We must always recognize what we already know, that insurgents are always plotting with the elements of surprise. Our troops must redouble efforts to be ahead of insurgents. I salute our troops for the resistance put up today.
“I salute troops who mobilised to provide reinforcement. I salute the sacrifices of some officers and men we lost today and share the grieves of the immediate families and the Nigeria military. We thank these fallen heroes for their supreme sacrifices to the Nigerian Nation. The people of Borno will remain forever grateful to them and all fallen heroes, and will remain fully supported of gallant troops currently operating in front lines,” Zulum said.