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Army says reports of 23 missing soldiers in Borno "blown out of proportion"

The Army said only two soldiers were injured in Boko Haram attacks that were repelled by troops in two communities in Bama.

According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a competent military source disclosed that terrorists ambushed a military convoy at Boboshe village in Bama local government area of Borno on Saturday, July 14, 2018.

The source said five officers, 18 soldiers and eight trucks were missing after the attack with only three of the 11 trucks deployed to the area returning to their base in Maiduguri, the state capital.

In a statement signed by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Texas Chukwu, on Monday, July 16, he said the report is untrue and misleading.

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He disclosed that the reported attack were actually failed attacks by terrorists on troops at Kwakwa and Chingori communities in Bama, attacks he said were successfully repelled with 22 terrorists killed.

He said the Army's only casualties were two injured soldiers who are receiving treatment at a military medical facility.

His statement read, "The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to news making the round alleging attack on soldiers and capturing of military vehicles by Boko Haram in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

"The Nigerian Army wishes to state categorically that the report is not only untrue but misleading as the said report is blown out of proportion by the media.

"Contrary to the report, the Nigerian Army wishes to put the record straight on the issue and assure members of the public particularly residents of the North East to disregard the report as their safety is guaranteed.

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"The Nigeria Army wishes to state that there was an attempted attack on troops at Kwakwa and Chingori communities in Bama area of Borno State by suspected Boko Haram Terrorists as a result of difficult terrain where our vehicles bugged down.

"The terrorists also attempted to cart away troops operational vehicles, but were successfully repelled by our gallant troops with the support of the Nigerian Air Force.

"About 22 members of Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised while several others escaped with gunshot wounds. Efforts are being intensified by the troops to get the fleeing members of the Boko Haram terrorists.

"Unfortunately, one officer and a soldier sustained injuries and are currently receiving medical attention at the military medical facility."

Brig. Gen. Chukwu advised the media to report certain facts with caution and verify facts from the appropriate military authority before publishing. He also urged members of the public to disregard the the report of the ambush.

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Atiku expresses concern

Earlier on Monday, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, took to his Twitter account to express his concern about the fate of the soldiers.

He posted, "I'm concerned about the fate of scores of our soldiers declared missing following the ambush of their convoy by Boko Haram insurgents at Boboshe village in Bama LGA of Borno. I do hope and pray for their safe return."

The report of the ambush attack has generated a lot of outrage from Nigerians who criticised the federal government for their insistence that Boko Haram has been defeated despite the group's repeated attacks on civilian populations and security forces.

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