A Lieutenant Colonel and six soldiers were killed in a fierce battle between the military and Boko Haram in Borno’s northern town of Malam Fatori.
“It is sad that we lost an officer and six soldiers during an encounter and operation to clear Boko Haram in Malam Fatori on Friday night,” Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj Gen Lucky Irabor told newsmen in Maiduguri yesterday shortly after handing over the newly rescued Chibok girl, Maryam Maiyanga to Borno government.
Irabor said the troops of the 119 Battalion of the Nigerian Army at Malam Fatori fought to repel Boko Haram during an encounter with the terrorists on Friday about 10pm, killing at least 14 of the insurgents.
A statement earlier by the army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman named the Lieutenant Colonel killed in the attack as Muhammad Abu Ali, who until his death last Friday night, was the Commanding Officer of the 272 Task Force Battalion recently promoted by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai.
“It will be recalled that because of the late senior officer’s exceptional bravery and gallantry, he was given accelerated promotion from the rank of Major to Lieutenant Colonel by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai at Gamboru-Ngala on 9th September 2015 during an operational visit,” Usman said in the statement.
The army spokesman said troops recovered arms cache including one General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and seven AK-47 rifles among others. The officer was repeatedly hailed by his troops and commended for his humane disposition to soldiers working with him.