Two soldiers and at least 26 Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) extremists were killed when the insurgents stormed Gajiram town in the Nganzai Local Government Area in Borno State on Sunday, November 28.
Reports said the insurgents were gunning to infiltrate the military’s Forward Operating Base in the town.
Muhammad Bukar, a resident, told RNI reporter Rukayya Ahmed Alibe: “They stormed the town in gun trucks and on motorcycles. They were shooting haphazardly. But the soldiers soon overwhelmed them with heavy gunfire and the extremists were forced to retreat.”
Bukar said that even before the attack a curfew had been imposed in the town from 9pm to 6am. But some residents had violated it.
”The army needs to be stricter and ensure that no one breaks the curfew,” he said.
Military sources said at least 26 bodies were recovered after the aerial bombardment but soldiers chased after the insurgents and the exact number of casualties was not known.
In a statement issued on Sunday by Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, the director of army public relations, said the troops of sector 3 Operation Hadin Kai, supported by the air force, “brought [a] devastating volume of fire” on the insurgents, who “retreated in disarray”.
“Several charred remains of the terrorists littered the route. Sadly, two gallant Nigerian soldiers paid the supreme price during the encounter,” he said.
Nwachukwu said the troops had recovered 10 AK-47 riffles, one anti-aircraft gun, one Shilka barrel, one mortar tube and 61 rounds of PKT machine-gun ammunition.
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Faruk Yahaya, has urged the troops to aggressively maintain the momentum of the pursuit, until the remnants of the fleeing terrorists are destroyed.”