Soldiers who were killed by terrorist group, Boko Haram, in the troubled northeast region will be buried by the Nigerian Army in a private ceremony scheduled to be held in Maiduguri, Borno State on Friday, December 14, 2018.
According to a report by The Punch, the soldiers were those killed during a terrorist attack on the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele in Guzamala local government area of Borno on November 18.
Even though many reports indicated that over 100 soldiers were killed in the attack, with many others missing, the Army disclosed in a statement that 23 soldiers were killed with 31 others injured.
However, according to one of the widows of the officers who spoke to The Punch, the number of soldiers to be buried during the private ceremony is unknown.
"I was invited for the burial of my husband with a few others this Friday in Maiduguri. Sincerely, we don't even know how many will be buried and the army is not giving us any information," she said.
A colonel who spoke to The Punch reported that the ceremony has been made private to conceal the real figure of casualties from the attack.
He said, "General Buratai said only 23 soldiers were killed in the attack. He also put the number of troops wounded in action at 31. However, we all know that is not true. Over 100 were killed and a private burial is now being organised in order not to expose their lies."
Around the time of the Metele attack, terrorists also staged a series of attacks on Nigerian Army troops between November 2 and November 17 with 16 soldiers killed and 12 injured.
The attacks took place in Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto and Gajiram, all in Borno, but were 'successfully repelled' by troops who killed 'several members' of the terrorist group.
Many of the attacks were credited to Boko Haram faction, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), who has renewed assaults on military bases in 2018.
The attacks have given rise to public outcry over President Muhammadu Buhari's handling of the terrorist group after his administration had made several claims that the group was 'technically defeated'.
When he recently spoke at the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference in Maiduguri, the president urged the Army to remain committed to defeating Boko Haram.