The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Saturrday displayed leadership by example when he supervised the arrest of four Boko Haram insurgents who ambushed his convoy as he visited troops at the battlefront in the North-east border area of Borno State.
An advance team of soldiers moving ahead of the COAS Buratai’s convoy got into a Boko Haram ambush: a soldier was killed and two others were injured in the subsequent exchange of fire when the advance team led by an army General also gunned down 10 of the terrorists and arrested five others.
The top officers arrived Maiduguri on Friday alongside other soldiers of Nigeria Army as well as the Chief of Defence Staff. He set out for what could be described as the most petrifying trip towards Nigeria’s major international border in the North-east, where soldiers are busy making gains in defeating the terrorists and reclaiming captured territories.
The COAS, whose presence apparently encouraged the soldiers to move on, had immediately directed officers to rush the injured soldiers to the hospital for treatment. He also directed that those arrested alongside the Boko Haram suspects be taken to the barracks for proper interrogation.
The reporter who was embedded in the army column on the trip on the dangerous Maiduguri-Gamboru-Ngala highway which until recently, has been under the control of the sect, saw deserted communities overgrown with shrubs and grass.
Col Sani Kukasheka Usman, acting Director of Army Public Relations, last night said in a statement that the terrorists’ attack was met with an ‘overwhelming firepower from the troops in which 10 of them were killed’ while five were captured alive.
“During the encounter, sadly, we lost a soldier while an officer and four other soldiers sustained gunshot wounds.
“The arrested terrorists have been sent for interrogation while the remains of the gallant soldier and the other wounded soldiers were evacuated back to Maiduguri,” he said.
The Army spokesman added that the wounded soldiers were stable and responding to treatment at 7 Division Hospital and Medical Services.
Meanwhile, at the 112 Task Force Battalion located at Mafa, Barutai commended the troops and enjoined them to continue to be hardworking and dedicated.
The statement further said that at Dikwa, the COAS interacted with a mammoth crowd of internally displaced persons (IDPs) where he assured them of their safety.
“Thereafter, he addressed some officers and men of 112 Battalion during which he told them that the Boko Haram terrorists should not have any freedom of action or movement within their area of responsibility.
“At Logomani, where troops of 7 Division Strike Group were refitting, he informed them that Nigerians are very proud of them,” Usman said.