The Nigerian Army on Wednesday confirmed that it had recovered corpses of “one officer and 15 soldiers” earlier declared “missing in action” during an operation to dislodge the Boko Haram insurgents from Gashigar Area in Borno State, on October 16, 2016.
Speaking at a press conference at the Military Command and Control Centre in Maiduguri, Borno State, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major-General Lucky Irabor, said the remains of the 16 soldiers, who were part of the 46 officially declared missing more than six weeks ago, were recovered on January 5, 2017, at about 7:45pm, by soldiers in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).
He said: “On January 5, 2017, at about 0745hrs, our troops in conjunction with CJTF conducted clearance operation along Damasak–Gashigar Road. The troops successfully cleared Duoma, Asaga, Gashigar and other surrounding villages. At Asaga village, our troops encountered and dislodged some Boko Haram terrorist elements.
“Subsequently, the troops recovered corpses of one officer and 15 soldiers earlier declared missing in action, during their dislodgment from Gashigar on October 16, 2016. The corpses were recovered along Kamadugou River line. Among the recovered corpses was that of Lt-Col. K. Yusuf, the former Commanding Officer of 223 Tank Battalion. They have since been buried in Maimalari Cantonment Cemetery, with full military honours,” he said.
“About 83 soldiers manning a Forward Operation Base in Gashigar, Borno State, went missing in a major Boko Haram attack in the evening of October 16, 2016. After initial resistance, the troops abandoned their base and scampered for safety.
“As they retreated, some soldiers jumped into River Yobe to escape the advancing insurgents. The terrorists opened fire, nonetheless, killing some of the troops and wounding others.”