Posted by News Express | 15 March 2014 | 4,572 times
At least 207 suspected Boko Haram fighters lost their lives in yesterday morning’s ill-fated invasion of Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital in Nigeria’s North-East.
News Express had yesterday afternoon reported that soldiers showed the terrorists “pepper” in their botched mission to free their members detained at the military facility.
A clearer picture of the casualty rate emerged this morning, with most reports putting it at 207 while one report said it was as high as 350. In addition, at least 50 fleeing insurgents were also reported to have been arrested by a combined team of the military and volunteers known as Civilian JTF – JTF meaning Joint Task Force.
The casualty rate of 207 quoted in most reports came from Abdullahi Dere, chairman of Sector 5 of the Civilian JTF in Jidari Polo near Giwa Barracks, who said: “We counted 207 dead bodies of Boko Haram members shot dead by the military in Jidari Polo area alone. The suspected Boko Haram members had attacked Giwa Barracks and freed some of the detainees but the military were able to go after them and killed them. As we speak, the dead bodies of the terrorists are still within our area unattended to. We were also able to capture some fleeing Boko Haram suspects and handed them over to the military.”
The battle paralysed activities in Maiduguri from 7.30am to 11.35am, with the state government later imposing a 24-hour curfew on the city.
Giving the official account of events, Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, said in a statement issued in Abuja: “Pockets of terrorists apparently in a move to boost their depleted stock of fighters this morning attacked a military location in Maiduguri with a view to freeing their colleagues who are being held in detention.
“The attack has been successfully repelled with heavy human casualty on the terrorists. Some of the victims of the terrorists’ fire in their efforts to break into the detention facility, included those they came to rescue.
“Many of the terrorists and their weapons have been captured. Four soldiers were wounded and are being treated. Hot pursuits by land and air operations are ongoing along with cordon and search of surrounding localities.
“No institution has been reported attacked, although the effect of firing from the encounter could be noticed in surrounding facilities in Maiduguri. It is believed that the terrorists’ attempt is in response to the intensity of attacks on their strongholds.
“These strongholds are the camps at Talala, Monguzum, Sambisa forests, Gwoza, Mandara mountains as well as the general area of Lake Chad.
“The camps have been destroyed and many insurgents killed.”
•Photo shows Nigerian troops on duty.
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