The convoy of the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, was Saturday ambushed by suspected Boko Haram terrorists at Faljari village between Mafa and Dikwa, during the Army Chief’s visit to Borno State
The attack, which left one soldier and 10 terrorists dead, occurred while Buratai was on a morale-boosting visit to the troops in the insurgent-threatened areas of Mafa, Dikwa and Logomani.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, confirmed the failed terrorist ambush in a statement. The statement, however, did not specifically used the word convoy, it said 'leading column.' He said: “The terrorists encountered an overwhelming fire power from the troops in which 10 of them were killed”, while five others were captured.
Usman also quoted the CoAS as commending the troops at 112 Task Force Battalion location in Mafa and enjoined them to continue to be hardworking and dedicated.
"During the encounter, sadly, we lost a soldier, while an officer and four soldiers sustained gunshot wounds", he said.
The DAPR also disclosed that the arrested terrorists were being interrogated, while the remains of the ‘gallant soldier’ and the wounded soldiers were evacuated back to Maiduguri.
He also gave assurance that the wounded soldiers were stable and responding to treatment at 7 Division Hospital and Medical Services.
"At Dikwa, Usman said the CoAS interacted with a mammoth crowd of internally displaced persons where he assured them of their safety.
“Thereafter, he addressed some elements of 112 Battalion and 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 were very proud of them", he stated.
The Army Spokesman recalled that the unit recaptured Dikwa and was now heading to the next objective. According to him, Buratai who delivered President Muhammadu Buhari's goodwill message also said that he was adequately briefed by the GOC 7 Div about their problem.
One interesting aspect of the visit, Usman noted, was that Nigerian Air Force led by the Chief of Air Staff (CoAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, gave air cover and conducted armed air reconnaissance on the general area.
"While the IDPs were excited with presence of the CoAS, troops at various locations were equally in high spirit and good to go.
"The troops indicated their readiness to carry out assigned tasks," he said.
It also emerged yesterday that Boko Haram militants are strengthening ties with the Islamic State (IS) group as reports have shown that Nigerian militants are fighting in Libya, while recent arrests in Lebanon and India and the blocking of thousands of suspected extremists from leaving Nigeria are other strong indications of the reinforcement of ties with the IS.
Boko Haram had pledged allegiance to IS in March and in June was declared its West African province.
A report in Associated Press quoting Nigeria analyst, Jacob Zenn, in The Sentinel magazine of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation, stated that an estimated 80 to 200 Boko Haram fighters were in the Libyan city of Sirte.
Zenn noted that Algerian security forces believed Boko Haram fighters had joined other militants in northern Niger.
"The openness of migration routes from Nigeria through eastern Niger to Libya makes travel ... fairly straightforward, and the Islamic State can easily afford to pay smugglers to carry militants (and weapons) along that route," wrote Zenn.
Further evidence of Boko Haram's links with IS was the arrest on August 15 by Lebanese authorities of hardline IS cleric Ahmad al-Assir at Beirut airport. He was said to have planned to fly to Nigeria on a forged Palestinian passport with a valid Nigerian visa.
The Nigeria Immigration Service reported barring 23,472 people from leaving the country between January 2014 and March 2015.
"There have been reports in recent times of some Nigerians departing to join terrorist groups especially in the Middle East and North Africa," said PR Nigeria, which publishes government news.
Two Nigerians studying in India were arrested August 7 as they tried to cross illegally into Pakistan, planning to join IS in Iraq, it said.
More than 1,000 people have been killed in the insurgency since President Muhammad Buhari was elected in March and pledged to halt the 6-year-old Islamic uprising blamed for the deaths of some 20,000.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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