The Nigeriam army says it lost 39 soldiers in recent attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, and not 118 as reported.
In a statement issued on behalf of the chief of army staff, Sani Usman, a brigadier general, said 53 soldiers were wounded in the attacks
The Boko Haram war recently suffered a heavy setback when troop formations in the north-east came under series of attacks by the insurgents in the space of two weeks.
The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), a faction of the Boko Haram sect, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
While the army had initially admitted the attacks, it had described the high number of casualties being reported as “misinformation.”
Usman said each of the attacks were “successfully repelled” and that “several members of the terrorists were killed”.
He said since 2015, the Nigerian army has “systematically degraded” the capacity of Boko Haram insurgents.
“However, in the last two to three months, we have noticed daring moves by the terrorists, increased use of drones against our defensive positions and infusion of foreign fighters in their ranks. These potent threats require us to continually review our operations,” he said.
“In the recent weeks, Nigerian troops deployed in the North East of Nigeria under Operation LAFIYA DOLE have come under series of attacks by large numbers of Boko Haram Terrorists,” he said.
“Specifically, the Nigerian Army troops deployed at KUKAWA, NGOSHE, KARETO and GAJIRAM came under attack at different times within a 2 week period from 2 – 17th November 2018. Each of these incidents were successfully repelled and several members of the terrorists were killed. However, a total of 16 personnel were killed in the course of these attacks while 12 soldiers were wounded in action and are receiving treatment at our military medical facilities.
“As you are all aware, Nigeria is contributing troops to the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which has its headquarters in N’djamena, in the Republic of Chad. One of the Nigerian battalions (157 TF Bn), deployed under the auspices of the MNJTF was attacked at their Base on the outskirts of a town called METELE on 18th November 2018. During the attack, the troops were forced to withdraw and several casualties were recorded. As at date 23 personnel were killed in action and 31 personnel were wounded in action and have been evacuated to several medical hospitals within Borno State. The Nigerian Army commiserates with the MNJTF at this difficult time and wishes to state that all necessary support will be rendered to the MNJTF to reverse this resurgence of the Boko Haram Terrorists.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to further commiserate with the families of the gallant officers and soldiers that paid the supreme price in the course of defending their fatherland. The sacrifices of these fallen heroes will not be in vain. We also wish all those wounded in action speedy recovery and assure them of our continued support and care.
“The incident of 18th November 2018, happened at a time when the Nigerian Army was planning to hold the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference for 2018 in Benin City, Edo State. On account of this incident, the Conference had to be moved from Benin City to Maiduguri to enable the Nigerian Army leadership get closer to the troops on the ground and to better appraise our activities, assess our performance and identify our shortcomings as an Army.”