Nigerian Army Denies Reports Of Boko Haram Attack On Its Soldiers
There had been reports that no fewer than 48 soldiers lost their lives to a Boko Haram attack on Nigerian troops over the weekend.
But a conflicting account of the attack emerged on Monday.
While security sources said that as many as 48 soldiers had been killed, the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN quoted the army spokesman as saying such reports were wrong.
Thursday’s attack by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect on a base in Zari village in the north of Borno State, is the latest blow to Nigeria’s efforts to defeat the insurgencies.
Military and security personnel who did not want to be named told Reuters on Saturday up to 30 soldiers had been killed in the Zari attack.
Three such sources said late on Sunday and on Monday the known death toll of Nigerian troops had risen to 48.
Military spokesmen did not respond to phone calls and text messages from Reuters on Monday requesting comment.
Army spokesman Texas Chukwu told NAN on Sunday there had been a firefight between troops and insurgents.
But he called the reports of killings of soldiers a “figment of the imagination of the news agency”, without saying which news agency he meant.
Reports of killings of troops have been published by foreign news organisations including Reuters and by some Nigerian media.
“During the firefight, the overwhelming volume of fire was unleashed on the insurgents from both the air and ground troops, neutralising several of them and their weapons,” Chukwu told NAN. He did not specifically say that no government troops had been killed.
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