The Nigerian Army said it had recovered corpses of “one officer and 15 soldiers’’ earlier declared “missing in action” during an operation to dislodge the Boko Haram insurgents from Gashigar Area in Borno on October 16, 2016.
The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, disclosed this at a weekly review of Operation Rescue Final at Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri, on Wednesday.
“The corpses were recovered along Kamadugou River line area in Maiduguri. Among the recovered corpses was that of Lt. Col. K. Yusuf, the former Commanding Officer (CO) of 223 Tank Battalion.
“They have since been buried in Maimalari Cantonment Cemetery with full military honours,’’ Irabor said.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 67 Boko Haram terrorists were shot dead by troops in the latest gun battle in Metele, Wulge and Bulakesa villages of Borno State, which also claimed the lives of six soldiers.
It was learnt that 963 Boko Haram suspects were also arrested by the troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole as the mop up operations of the Sambisa Forest and surrounding terrorist hideouts continued.
Irabor, who confirmed the casualties of the terrorists and soldiers at a press briefing in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Wednesday, said among the suspects were women who confessed to be wives of the fleeing insurgents.
One of our correspondents gathered that in Wulge village, troops received an intelligence report that the Boko Haram members were about to launch an attack on residents and mobilised to the area, leading to a gun battle.
During the exchange, 11 terrorists were shot dead, while nine others were arrested.
However, in the clearance operations at Manawasi and Garel areas, it was learnt that the troops encountered the Boko Haram members in Bulakesa village leading to a heavy shoot-out, during which three soldiers were killed and four others injured.
During the shoot-out, troops with the support of the Air component killed 50 Boko Haram members and recovered three AK 47 rifles. Also, 27 suspected members were arrested during the operation.
Also in Metele village, it was gathered that troops in conjunction with the civilian Joint Task Force conducted another raid, and killed six Boko Haram members, while two soldiers were injured.
Irabor said, “We cleared Wulge, Metele and Bulakesa villages, where several Boko Haram members were shot dead, and sadly, we lost some officers too. We cleared Asaga, Gashigar and other villages.”