Not less than 10 soldiers are said to be missing in action, when troops of the Nigeria Army walked into an ambush laid by Boko Haram insurgents on Thursday morning. The authorities of the Nigeria Army are yet to confirm the number.
But a statement issued by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations (Ag.DAPR) Col Sani Usman, confirmed that soldiers returning from a successful operation encountered the insurgents, inflicted casualties on them, but “a few others were missing in action.”
A source told The Guardian that the missing soldiers were in the thick of action, before the ambush, “but you cannot begin to look out for everybody when you are exchanging fire.
“The terrorists attacked in their numbers, the troops were taken unawares, so it was a difficult situation, but the real figure would be made public soon,” the source said.
The statement read in part: “Troops on clearance patrol at Guro Gongon village and environs to rout out remnants of Boko Haram terrorists hibernating therein, destroyed the terrorists’ makeshift camps and recovered quite a number of weapons, equipment and foodstuff in the process.
“However, the gallant soldiers basking on the recorded success, returning to their defensive locations, ran into an ambush by a group of Boko Haram terrorists who came to reinforce their fleeing comrades. The troops fought back gallantly killing several of the insurgents.
“Sadly, however, 19 soldiers and three civilian JTF members were wounded in action while a few others were missing in action.
“The wounded have been evacuated and are responding to treatment, while a search and rescue party comprising of Special Forces personnel has since been dispatched to establish contact with the missing in action troops, some of whom, as at the time of filing this report, have started returning to their defensive location.”
While emphasizing the resolve of the Army to ensure that the missing troops are found, Usman listed the recovered equipment during the operation at Gongon to include “1 gun truck mounted with an anti-aircraft gun, a MOWAG Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), 1 rocket-propelled grenade tube, 1 light machine gun, 3 AK-47 rifles and motorcycles.”