The army, in a statement released on Wednesday which was the first time it would speak on the casualties’ figure, said 31 personnel were also “wounded in action and have been evacuated to several medical hospitals.”
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, in the release signed by Brig Gen Sani Usman, said 12 soldiers were also killed at Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto and Gajiram when the troops came under attacks of the Boko Haram terrorists.
Usman said, “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. Specifically, the Nigerian Army troops deployed at Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto and Gajiram came under attack at different times within a two-week period from November 2 to 17.
“Each of these incidents was 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 which has its headquarters in N’djamena, in the Republic of Chad. One of the Nigerian battalions, 157 Task Force Battalion, deployed under the auspices of the MNJTF was attacked at their Base on the outskirts of a town called Metele on November 18.
“During the attack, the troops were forced to withdraw and several casualties were recorded. As of this 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.
“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.”