Scores of soldiers who went missing following the Boko Haram and Islamic State fighters’ attacks on the army bases in Metele and Baga, Borno State, in November 2018, have yet to be rescued by the military almost 10 months, Saturday PUNCH reports.
This is coming about three months after the Multi-National Joint Task Force explained in June that its operation, Yancin Takfi, “is progressing steadily and is committed to rescuing all personnel who were declared missing in action.”
Findings among top military sources on Friday showed that scores of missing soldiers had yet to be found by the military. Some of the soldiers are feared to have been killed or abducted by the insurgents.
The Nigerian Army had on November 28 last year confirmed that it lost 23 personnel to the attack by the ISWAP terrorists, who attacked the 157 Battalion in Metele in northern Borno on November 18. The army also said 31 personnel were also “wounded in action and have been evacuated to several medical hospitals.”
The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, has, however, said that the military conducted regular search-and-rescue operations to free any personnel suspected to be in the enclave of the Boko Haram terrorists.
The acting Director, Defence Information, Col Onyema Nwachukwu, who stated this on Friday, said he was not aware any personnel was with the Boko Haram insurgents.
He said, “Of course, we do search and rescue operations; this is done regularly to ensure that any of our personnel are liberated from such captivity. This is apart from the offensives that we are conducting.
“But nobody has told me there is any personnel in captivity. When there are missing-in-action personnel during combats, what we do is to send out search and rescue parties, but there is none of our personnel in the enclave of the Boko Haram.”
The acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, could not be reached for comments on Saturday evening, as his line rang out two times.
A text message also sent to his line to seek comments on the reportedly outdated Shilka tanks was not replied to as of the time of filing this report.
The acting Director, Defence Information, Col Onyema Nwachukwu, could also not be reached on Saturday evening for comment.