83 soldiers still missing after Boko Haram attack

By The Citizen

Eighty-three Nigerian troops are still missing in action almost a week after the Boko Haram terrorists carried out a deadly ambush on a military outpost in Borno State.

The embattled troops failed to fight back as the militants had superior firing power, some senior army officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press on Sunday, adding that the morale was also low among the soldiers because they were being fed once a day and their allowances were being pilfered by their superiors.

The soldiers had been stationed at an outpost in the village of Gashigar, on the border with Niger, when the Boko Haram militants equipped with heavy guns and rocket-propelled grenades launched a surprise attack against the remote base on October 17, forcing the troops to abandon their positions.

Dozens of the soldiers, unable to withstand the militants' heavy fire, fled the battle and jumped into the Niger River.

Twenty-two soldiers were pulled out from the river by Nigerien troops, while many others are feared to have drowned.

Several other soldiers also sustained fatal injuries in the incident.

Boko Haram, in a statement released in the wake of the attack, claimed that it had killed at least 20 soldiers and wounded dozens of others, a toll that has not yet been confirmed by Nigerian authorities.

Boko Haram started its campaign in 2009 with the aim of toppling the Nigerian government.

The terror group later expanded its activities to the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

These countries have in return stepped up counter-offensives in the form of unilateral operations or contributing to a multinational force against the militant group.

The group has also pledged allegiance to Daesh which is mainly operating in Iraq and Syria.

Many blame corrupt officials in the Nigerian government and army for the continued militancy, as recent reports say Boko Haram is receiving some of its arms and ammunition from corrupt Nigerian officials.

Boko Haram terrorists have so far killed more than 20,000 people and forced over 2.7 million others from their homes.

Nigeria says its army has so far managed to recapture most of the territories Boko Haram once took in the north-eastern parts of the country, adding, however, that the militant group resorted instead to attacking remote villages. - Press TV.