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Terrorists ambush Mali-bound soldiers, kill two

By The Citizen
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Two soldiers deployed to participate in the West African Force in Mali were on Saturday killed in an ambush by terrorists at Itakpe Junction, along the Okenne-Lokoja Road.

Four others were said to have received injuries from bomb explosions and gun attacks from the assailants.

The bodies of the late soldiers were deposited at the mortuary in Lokoja while the injured soldiers are receiving treatment under heavy security at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State.

It was learnt that about 150 soldiers were travelling in a convoy from Ibadan, Oyo State when they came under the attack in Kogi.

Motorists were held up along the Okenne-Lokoja Road for over one hour as the road was blocked by men of the Joint Task Force.

The Army Director of Information, Maj. Gen Bola Koleosho, who confirmed the attack, said those who killed the soldiers were members of a terrorist organisation.

Koleosho said the terrorists laid an ambush for them and threw Improved Explosive Devices on the convoy while firing at them simultaneously from the bush.

He said the soldiers left Ibadan for the North on their way to Mali and stopped over inĀ  Okenne to pass the night.

He dismissed insider's collaboration on the ground that it could not be substantiated.

He said, 'The troops were coming from Ibadan, I think it took them some time to leave and when they got to Okene, they stopped over to pass the night.

'They were leaving in the morning around when the attackers who were not robbers, because thieves don't use IEDs, waited for them. After they allowed the first escort vehicle to pass, they threw bombs at them while opening fire from the bush.

'Our soldiers at the back returned the fire. If not, the casualty figure would have been higher. One person died instantly and the other died on the way to the hospital. The other four are responding to treatment.'

Koleosho said the soldiers decided to block the road to ensure that innocent Nigerians were not attacked by the terrorists. He also said it was to pave way for the soldiers to defuse unexploded IEDs which might have been left behind by the terrorists