The Nigerian Army Tuesday quietly buried several soldiers at the military cemetery in Maiduguri. The Soldiers, THISDAY gathered, are believed to be the 105 Battalion during a fierce gun battle with Nigerian Troops at Gudun-bali, Borno State last week.
“Gudunbali was attacked this morning and some weapons were captured from the battalion. Two officers and 105 soldiers are still missing,” the platform sources had informed PREMIUM TIMES. The Nigerian military has claimed series of victories over the militants in recent weeks. On Monday, the army claimed that it captured and destroyed a factory where the group makes rockets and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
A Military source in Maiduguri said bodies of the men were brought to “Maiduguri Monday evening”. The Military authorities, in an attempt to keep the news away from the Public, had denied that soldiers were killed or missing, describing the report as a “fabrication of the imagination of those sympathetic to Boko Haram ways.
The Army Spokesman in Maiduguri, Colonel Tukur Ismail Gusau, had said Boko Haram attacked the location of the 157 Battalion, but they were “subsequently repelled by the gallant troops of the unit” adding that the unit’s commanding officer remained in contact with his Brigade.
The terrorists were reported to have captured a T-72 Tank in the attack as well as several military artillery weapons . The source who confirmed the burial of the 105 missing soldiers yesterday said about 34 men of the 118 Battalion were also killed by the insurgents last week.
“These deaths marks a low point in the war against the terrorists”, the source stated.
But Col. Usman informed THISDAY that the burial that took place was not that of the purported 105 dead or mission soldiers. He stated that burial of the soldiers close to the theatre of war was a routine military procedure.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Former Minister of Aviation, Olufemi Fani-Kayode, has taken a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Defence, Rtd Brig. Gen. Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai over the alleged ‘secret burial’ of soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents.