Boko Haram using drones, foreign fighters to attack Nigerian troops – Buratai

file photo
file photo

A sharp rise in Boko Haram attacks over the last three months has compelled the Nigerian military to have a rethink on its counter-insurgency strategies in the war-ravaged North-east, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai said on Wednesday.

The army chief also said it is obvious terrorist now deploy drones and foreign mercenaries in their operations.

Mr Buratai described the exploits of the jihadists as fearful saying it threatened to wipe out the gains recorded in the counter-terrorism efforts.

Boko Haram has carried out successful, back-to-back attacks on Nigerian military bases since July, leaving heavy personnel and equipment losses in their wake.

Mr Buratai lamented the recent attack on Nigerian Army 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Borno State, on November 18.

According to premium times, at least 118 soldiers, including the battalion’s commander, were killed in the attack,  153 still missing.

Mr Buratai, however, says only 23 soldiers were killed in the Metele attack.

The army chief said the attack is an acid test to the Nigerian Military might but assured insurgency will end soon.

“Since 2015, the Nigerian Army, in conjunction with sister services and other security agencies have systematically degraded the capabilities and capacity of Boko Haram terrorists and many successes were achieved.

Security experts have long warned that there are foreign fighters in Boko Haram.

The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) has claimed responsibility for attacks targeting Nigerian military assets.

Mr Buratai’s comments, circulated by Sani Usman, immediate-past spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, said Boko Haram also suffered heavy losses in the three-month period, which spoke to the gallantry and resilience Nigerian troops.

Borno villages of Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto and Gajiram came under attack at different times” over the past two weeks, from November 2-17, Mr Buratai said. “Each of these incidents was successfully repelled and several members of the terrorists were killed.”

Mr Buratai said the 16 military personnel were killed and 12 wounded in action during the period.

The military has reportedly intensified offensive against Boko Haram hideouts since the attack on November 18.

PRNigeria, a public relations firm close to the military, cited military sources as saying the Nigerian Air Force carried out a series of aerial bombardments of Boko Haram camps since November 25.