The Defence Headquarters has confirmed that the battle between the Joint Task Force (JTF) and Boko Haram Islamic sect members at Baga border town of Borno State on Sunday left 25 insurgents and one soldier dead, even as the US commended Nigeria for maintaining security in the sub-region.
The director of defence information, Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade, made this disclosure while speaking with defence correspondents in his office yesterday but said the number of civilian casualties had not yet been verified.
According to him, the fight erupted when
soldiers responded to desperate calls from the residents of Baga town who were under Boko Haram siege.
He disclosed that the only soldier killed was actually the first to respond to the desperate call when the Boko Haram opened fire on them.
He said, “We do not want to give you a wrong figure as the total number of civilian casualties has not been ascertained. However, the information we have here is that there was an attack by the Boko Haram insurgents and JTF responded to desperate calls. Twenty-five insurgents were killed and we lost a soldier who was actually responding to the desperate calls.”
The defence spokesman faulted the earlier report that at least 185 persons including women and children had been killed and over 200 houses razed down.
Meanwhile, the United States has commended Nigeria on its strategic role in fighting insurgency in the country and ensuring stability in the West African sub-region.
This was the highlight of the discussion
yesterday when the US Congressional House Armed Service Committee in the company of their ambassador to Nigeria, Clarence McCulley, visited the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, to meet with chief of defence staff (CDS) Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, the service chiefs and other top officials of the federal government.
The meeting, which was started with
journalists in attendance, dovetailed into a similar one with the minister of state for defence, Dr. Olusola Obada, where the US insisted the media be barred from further discussions.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, Senator George Sekibo, said that both parties discussed on how to deal with the growing case of terrorism in the country.