The Nigerian army on Wednesday confirmed that a “sizeable number” of the 39 soldiers declared missing after last week suspected Boko Haram attack in the border town of Gashigar in Borno state, had returned.
This disclosure was made by the Theater Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, while briefing newsmen in Maiduguri, the state capital.
“It is true that about 39 soldiers were declared missing,” he said.
“I want to inform you that a sizeable number of our soldiers had returned to base.”
The commander, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), however, admitted that a few soldiers were yet to be found.
“I think it is only a handful that have not been found,” he said, declining to state their exact number.
He said the military was engaged in an ongoing operation to uproot insurgents from the area.
“Operations are ongoing in the area,” he said.
“I think that we will give you the details in due course.”
He added that the military was focused on rescuing the remaining Chibok girls and all those in captivity.
“We have a task before us that anyone held by the Boko Haram terrorists must be rescued,” he said.
” We will do everything possible to rescue them.”
He said the military had recorded progress in its quest to apprehend collaborators of the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east.
“So far, we have arrested 30 suspects in connection with the crime of collaborating with the terrorists. We have four soldiers, two policemen, vigilantes and other civilians,” Irabor said.
He said the suspects were undergoing interrogation to determine their level of involvement in the crime.
Irabor, however, declined to give their identifies.
“For some reasons we cannot give out their names for now. But we will do that at the end of the investigation,” he concluded.