Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai / AFP
Following the attack of the Boko Haram terrorists Damasak, the location of 145 Batallion of the Nigerian Army remained calm on Thursday after troops inflicted heavy casualty on the Boko Haram terrorists.
The Batallion was attacked by the insurgents on Wednesday at about 6p.m. but withdrew about 11p. m. following superior fire power of the troops.
In the last 24 hours, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has been in the North-East monitoring ongoing operations.
He visited Damask on Tuesday and proceeded to Gudumbali, where the terrorists attacked troops locations on Friday.
Buratai vowed that the military will continue to defend the country and protect its people against attacks, whether external or internal.
He said such incident would not deter the military as it was common in counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations.
The insurgents, which attacked military locations in around the town, were believed to belong to the faction led by Al Barnawi, which had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in West Africa or ISWA.
However, a Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who was on the motorcade of the army chief observed that contrary to media publication, the terrorists did not touch any structure in the town, except one troops’ location.
According to some residents of Gudumbali, who turned out in large numbers to welcome the Army Chief, the terrorists stormed the town at about 4p.m. on Friday and began to extort money from market women and loot food items.
NAN also gathered that the troops immediately engaged the attackers, but beat a tactical withdrawal before regrouping to repell them.
Mrs Zainab Wakil, a resident, explained that they came at a time when the community market which holds on every Friday.
“They – terrorists did not attack us, but extort money from us and ordered us to stop trading. We left our wares and ran into the bush for safety.
“We were in the bush until Saturday morning. We came out after we noticed that soldiers, who withdrew had came out to chase them away,” she said.
Wakil maintained that the Boko Haram terrorists did not attack or kill any of the villagers before they fled at about 1a. m. on Saturday.
Unlike the faction led by Abubakar Shekau, the Al Barnawi faction of the Boko Haram group targets the military and its locations in its attacks, not civilians.
In the heat of the insurgency in 2014, the terrorists attacked troops in Gudumbali, where the army suffered heavy casualties, and razed the community. But was recaptured in 2015.
The army had set up a cenotaph in the community, which was inaugurated by the Chief of Army staff in July, to immortalise officers and soldiers, who paid the supreme price in the fight to liberate Gudumbali.