Nigeria’s army regrouped and repelled attacks by Boko Haram militants at the army base in Yobe Wednesday night that left three solders dead, according to military spokesman, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman.
The weapons and equipment the militants used in the attacks were destroyed.
The terrorists, he says, attempted to take over the headquarters of the army base in Damaturu, Yobe State.
Local reports say about 100 militants were killed in the attacks. But Col. Usman declined to give the number of militants killed, saying the army is still conducting a “mop up operation” in the area following the attack.
However, he says calm has returned to the area after the chief of army staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, went to visit the troops in the area to assess the situation both at the army base and parts of the town that were attacked.
“The chief of army staff talked with the troops and told them in unmistakable terms that these kinds of incidents should never be allowed to happen again,” said Usman.
“As of the time we visited the location, there were mop up operation going on and quite a number of dead bodies of the terrorists were recovered and some items. However, I cannot give you the figure now because they are still doing the mop up and their pursuit also.”
Residents of Damaturu have expressed concern about the latest Boko Haram attack. They contend that if the militants could attack an army headquarters in the area where soldiers were based with such impunity, then their lives are not secured.
Col. Usman expressed sympathy, but added that the army is prepared to protect them.
“That is why even the reinforcement in itself was led by a two-star general…and the essence is to assure the people and reassure the troops also that all is being done to ensure their safety and security,” said Usman.
“This morning the chief of army staff was there personally and talked with the troops and reinforced further with equipment and weaponry and also had interactions with the community leaders, where he assured them about their safety and security , and of course the renewed vigor and deployment.”
Usman denied accusations that the fight against terrorism appears to have waned following recent suicide bombings carried out by Boko Haram in parts of the country, including areas close to the capital, Abuja.
He says the recent apparent surge in suicide bombings demonstrates that the military’s revised strategy in the fight against defeating the militants is working.
Usman says the military is on course to keep President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent directive that called for the defeat of Boko Haram before the end of the year.