Troops kill 16 Boko Haram terrorists, lose 2 soldiers

One of the suspected terrorists killed in the attack with the vehicle at the scene where the suicide bomber killed himself. PHOTO: NIGERIAN ARMY

• Residents flee to neighbouring town, Cameroon

No fewer than 16 Boko Haram terrorists were, on Friday evening, killed by counter insurgency troops in Kala Local Government Area of Borno State.

Two soldiers were shot dead, while three sustained wounds in the exchange of gunfire that resulted from the terrorists’ attack on the troops’ location at Rann.

Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, in a statement on Saturday, said the terrorists came with Motorcycles Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (MCBIED), anti-aircraft guns and other weapons at about 5:00 p.m.

Usman explained that the gun duel between the terrorists and the troops lasted hours, adding that the attackers were overwhelmed by the superior firepower of the troops.

“Unfortunately, one of the terrorists’ suicide bombers detonated himself at a gun truck killing the driver and the gunner. The truck and the mounted weapon were also damaged beyond repairs.

“In addition, two soldiers were wounded in action, while three others sustained minor injuries. The troops killed seven of the attackers instantly, while quite a number escaped with gunshot wounds.

“During clearance operations this morning (on Saturday), the troops discovered nine more Boko Haram terrorists’ bodies in the surrounding areas. Therefore, the total number of terrorists killed was 16.

“The troops also recovered a General Purpose Machine Gun, Rocket Propelled Grenade, ammunition and captured two of the terrorists alive. The bodies of the two fallen heroes and the wounded in action soldiers have been evacuated to Maiduguri, while reinforcement was sent from Gomboru Ngala,” the statement said.

In a related development, the troops have also discovered and detonated two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) planted along Gamboru-Rann road.

Meanwhile, an international online newspaper, Mail Online quoting AFP, said residents of the affected community had fled into Cameroon and the town of Gamboru, 28 kilometres away.

An eyewitness, Ari Ngamsu, said: “The Boko Haram gunmen planted two high calibre explosives on the way outside the town but soldiers from Gamboru succeeded in defusing them at daybreak.”

Both witnesses spoke on Cameroonian phone lines, the only means of communication available following the destruction of telecom masts by Boko Haram in previous attacks.

Rann and nearby villages have been targeted in a number of attacks by Boko Haram despite successes by the Nigerian military that have pushed the Islamists out of some areas.

The attacks have forced villagers to flee their homes, returning to them after they were clawed back by the military.