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Many soldiers missing in Borno

Many soldiers were reported missing following an encounter with Boko Haram insurgents in northern Borno state midweek. The encounter occurred after troops of the 157…

Many soldiers were reported missing following an encounter with Boko Haram insurgents in northern Borno state midweek.
The encounter occurred after troops of the 157 Battalion dislodged an insurgents’ camp at Gudunbali, Guzamala Local Government, reports from the area said.
Sources told Daily Trust yesterday that the troops called for reinforcement from the 118 Battalion.
However, our sources said, the reinforcement could not linkup with the 157 Battalion in time before the militants regrouped and launched a surprise counter attack.
In the ensuing encounter, the insurgents overran the army base, the sources said.
Many soldiers and their commanding officer went missing, the sources added.
Also, an online news newspaper, PREMIUM TIMES, quoting unnamed military sources, reported yesterday that the terrorists captured a T-72 tank as well as several artillery weapons from the unit.
“Gudunbali was attacked this morning and some weapons were captured from the battalion. Two officers and 105 soldiers are still missing.
“They captured a T-72 tank from the unit and some artillery weapons were also captured. The commanding Officer (CO) of the battalion is yet to be seen but no one has been confirmed dead yet,” the medium quoted the source as saying.
Another source however said the T-72 tank was recovered after a prolonged fight with Boko Haram insurgents. The gunner and tank commander were injured in the process, he said. 
Also reportedly captured by the insurgents were eight vehicles, a truck loaded with rounds of AA ammunition and three artillery pieces.
However, the Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, the army division saddled with the responsibility of crushing the insurgency in the north-east, said the report was incorrect. 
“Colonel Tukur Ismail Gusau, Media Coordinator of the Theatre Command wants to state clearly that the story was from the imagination of those sympathetic to Boko Haram ways of life”.
In a statement he issued in Maiduguri yesterday, Col Tukur Gusau said: “Although the location of 157 Battalion was attacked last Wednesday and was subsequently repelled by the gallant troops of the Unit, the Commanding Officer of the Unit is in contact with his Brigade Commander.
“However, the unit suffered some casualties which is normal in military operations. The affected personnel sustained minor injuries but no gunshot wound was sustained by the troops.
“The number of casualty and equipment lost as being circulated is not correct. The situation was unnecessarily blown out of proportion to give terrorists the type of propaganda they desired.”
 

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