The Nigerian Army has released more names and photos of soldiers killed by Boko Haram terrorists while fighting the war against insurgency, as follows:
On the death of Late Chukwudi Nwodi, the Army wrote:
“With utmost sadness we report the death of gallant soldier Chukwudi Nwodi from Etche, Rivers State; he died alongside other soldiers in a Boko Haram Terrorists ambush.
“According to his family, Chukwudi was a strong supporter of Liverpool FC. He invented the word “wotowoto” which means “Annihilation”, “Drubbing”, “Massacre” and used popularly in Chinda family compound, Rumuokwuta and beyond by football lovers to narrate how a team was annihilated, drubbed or massacred in a match!
“Chukwudi joined the Nigerian Army a year and few months back.
“Brother said he was in port Harcourt few weeks ago, that he complained about many things. But they encouraged him to be strong and steadfast.”
“Gallant “Wotowoto”, you died a hero in the service to your father land. We shall forever remember you for your respect, loyalty, hard work and dedication to duty.”
FRANCIS IFEANYI FRANKLIN
The Army wrote:
“Gallant Soldier Francis Ifeanyi Franklin was declared missing by family after the ambush by Boko Haram, have been confirmed dead.
“The “SIGNAL” of his death has been transmitted to his younger sister who is his next of kin by the Nigerian Army.”
His sister said upon the news of his death being broken:
“The Signal have been sent, he is dead… Boko Haram has taken away the joy our mother …
“The pillar of the family is gone. “We are left with nothing now but heart broken.”
Gallant Mopol Badiru sikiru died three days ago defending his fatherland in Jata village before Maiduguri Town alongside three soldiers and one other Mopol. They were killed by Boko Haram in an attack
LIEUTENANT GAIUS GARBA
“With sadness we announce the death of gallant Lieutenant Gaius Garba, one of the soldiers killed by Boko Haram last week in an ambush.
“He left behind a daughter and a pregnant Wife.
“May God grant his wife, daughter and family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
“Young brave gallant soldier killed Friday, 27 July, 2018, when Boko Haram attacked soldiers of 156 Task Force Battalion under 29 Task Force Brigade, in a clearance operation.
“Sadly 6 Six soldiers also lost their lives, while 18 others sustain serious injuries,” wrote army.
17 Gallant Soldiers Killed, Equipment Stolen In Multiple Boko Haram Onslaught On Military Formations
A roadside ambush and two gunfire attacks reported earlier this week killed at least one officer and 16 soldiers and wounded 18 more troops in the volatile North-east region of Nigeria, in a daring continuation of Boko Haram’s renewed rampage against military targets that escalated with the raiding of two formations last week.
Top military sources who briefed on the aftermath of each of the three attacks executed over a five-day span said the insurgents also carted away valuable military hardware, including anti-aircraft gun trucks, Toyota Hilux trucks and at least one armoured personnel carrier.
The near-simultaneous and increasingly frequent attacks appeared to have greatly unsettled the military leadership in recent days, with sources attributing the latest redeployment of top commander overseeing the counter-insurgency operations to the disappointment being felt at the Defence Headquarters.
It was the fifth reshuffle since 2015 in commanders of Operation Lafiya Dole, Nigerian military’s flagship anti-terrorism campaign across the Northeast.
ANOTHER WEEK OF HEAVY MILITARY LOSSES
In at least one instance, the terrorists destroyed an anti-aircraft gun truck rather than drive it away in Tarmuwa Local Government Area of Yobe State, sources said.
This was when a detachment from 223 Battalion led by a lieutenant colonel lost eight soldiers after it was ambushed on July 21, marking the first of the last one week’s attacks.
One soldier was seriously wounded in that attack.
On July 24, soldiers on patrol in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State encountered Boko Haram attackers in Yajiwa-Kaffa axis.
One officer and six soldiers were killed while 14 other members of the team, including two local hunters, were seriously injured in the gunfire that erupted, military sources said.
The army did not disclose the attack to the media, which was why it went unreported until military sources informed private media houses and journalist about it Friday night as part of the paper’s findings about military and civilian casualties in the renewed Boko Haram attacks.
The terrorists continued their deadly campaign with the attack on Thursday night in Jakana, Borno settlement which lies west of Maiduguri on the road to Kano.
Although the attack was largely repelled as security agencies said, two soldiers were still killed and three injured, facts the Nigerian Army and police concealed in their respective statements but which senior officers have now disclosed.
A police post was also reportedly set ablaze during the attack, with reports claiming two police officers died.
Military sources said the attack, which started at about 5:30p.m. bore the markings of Boko Haram fighters on a foraging mission.
Still, they managed to escape with an anti-aircraft gun truck, two Toyota Hilux vehicles and an armoured personnel carrier after plundering foodstuff in large quantity.
Boko Haram also attempted to break into the armoury at the military base in Jakana, but this attempt was foiled by troops, although sources said the insurgents stole some guns at the location.
A military spokesperson said Boko Haram also lost some of its fighters in the attacks, while even more of them escaped with gunshot injuries
But the losses inflicted on the Nigerian military had become so far reaching that military chiefs in Abuja are beginning to recalibrate their counter-insurgency strategy, sources said.
On Friday the Army announced a shake-up in top generals commanding different formations across the Northeast, amidst fear of a resurgent Boko Haram.
The move was attributed to a need to inject new hands to further actualise the vision Tukur Buratai, the chief of army staff.
Mr Buratai paid an unscheduled visit to the war front on July 21 for a first-hand assessment of troops’ conditions after Boko Haram overran a forward operating base in Yobe and ambushed a detachment in Bama Local Government Area, Borno between July 13 and 14.
A STUBBORN SCOURGE
This week’s attacks, although lesser in both scope and severity compared to last week’s, underscored the ability of terrorists to exploit open vulnerabilities in military operations for maximum damage, a technique largely underrated by both the military and the Buhari administration, said political and security analyst Sola Olubanjo.
“Boko Haram has proven over and again its ability to launch surprise attacks whenever the government concludes the terrorists can no longer carry out attacks,” Mr Olubanjo said.
“The military and President Muhammadu Buhari with his aides have been claiming that only soft targets are being killed by Boko Haram, Nigerians can now judge how true that is with near-daily attacks on military bases and detachments.”
“I am aware that the government receives regular supports on the strategic ways of dealing with Boko Haram and other deadly gangs in the country, but they are more focused on the immediate gains of propaganda,” the analyst added.
“But, I am not aware of anywhere in the world where a government would be expending so much energy and resources on trying to divert attention away from an insurgency with the hope that it would force the public to stop being worried about it.”
John Agim, Defence Headquarters spokesperson, said he was not aware of the casualties.
“I am hearing this for the first time,” Mr Agim, a brigadier general, said in a message to Friday night, before adding that the enquiries should be directed to Mr Chukwu.
In recent weeks, the military has released statements about attacks that seemed to significantly obscure what transpired in the battlefront.
For instance, when soldiers were attacked in Borno and Yobe on July 13 and 14, the military only released a statement acknowledging that attack took place in Borno.
But Mr Chukwu, a brigadier-general who released the statement, was silent on the reports that dozens of troops went missing after Boko Haram stormed a base in Yobe.
A mass burial was later conducted for the departed soldiers from last week. It was not immediately clear when those killed this week would be buried, or whether their families have been notified of the fate of their loved ones. The military often complains of communication issues in reaching families for tragic news.
Mr Olubanjo said this was different from the previous approach of the military since Mr Buhari assumed office in May 2015, which prioritised keeping military casualties from the public at all cost.
“Clearly, what they are now doing is to quickly give out half of the information, at most, so the public can then move on with the assumption that that was all that happened,” Mr Olubanjo said.
“The media should continue to hold the military to account about the plight of thousands of brave citizens who are sacrificing their comfort and now frequently their lives fighting an insurgency they did not create,” he added.