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Buhari, Zulum mourn general, 11 others killed in ISWAP ambush

Posted by on November 13, 2021 0


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A Nigerian Army general, a major, a lieutenant and nine other soldiers were on Saturday killed in an attack by Islamic State West Africa Province fighters in Askira town, in the Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno State.

The military officers were said to have been killed in an ambush while trying to provide reinforcement for the troops.

The attack, which began in the early hours of Saturday, was said to have lasted for several hours, leaving many civilians dead.

According to sources, the ISWAP terrorists attacked the town, which is the hometown of Borno State House of Assembly deputy speaker, with 12 gun trucks, four of which were burnt down by troops of the Nigerian military.

“They came to the town in 12 gun trucks and mounted them at strategic locations to give them an edge over the Nigerian forces,” a source in Uba told to Sunday PUNCH.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has confirmed the killing of Brigadier-General Dzarma Zirkushu in a fierce battle with terrorists of the Islamic State of West African Province ISWAP on Saturday.

Zirkushu was the commander of 28 Task Force Brigade, Chibok.

In a statement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, it said Zirkusu and the three soldiers paid the “supreme sacrifice in a very rare display of gallantry” in a counteroffensive against the terrorists.

It, however, said the troops killed many members of ISWAP during the encounter in Askira, which borders Sambisa Forest.

ISWAP has been fighting against the Nigerian armed forces since it split from Boko Haram five years ago and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

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The insurgents attacked Askira on Saturday morning with at least 12 gun trucks, setting houses and shops on fire and forcing some residents to scamper to safety, AFP reported.

In April, the army said a senior ISWAP commander, Bukar Gana Fitchmeram (aka Abu Aisha), and scores of his fighters, who were on a revenge mission at Damasak were killed as they attempted a reprisal following the killing of 12 high-value ISWAP commanders in the Mobbar Local Government Area of the state in a week-long air and ground operations by its troops.

In September, it said its troops neutralised two ISWAP/Boko Haram insurgents during a counter-attack against the terrorists who attempted to gain access into Babangida community in the Tarmuwa Local Government Area of Yobe State to loot to restock.

In October, it said troops of Joint Task Force North East Operation Hadin Kai deployed alongside Cameroonian Defence Force foiled an infiltration by terrorists on its camp at the Forward Operating Base, Wulgo, Borno, killing four members of ISWAP.

However, the statement by the army read in part, “Sadly, a gallant senior officer Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu, his 2IC and eight other soldiers were killed in a very rare display of gallantry as they provided reinforcement in a counter offensive against the terrorists, and successfully defended the location.

Troops of Joint Task Force, North East Operation HADIN KAI have neutralized several Islamic State West Africa Province terrorists during a recent encounter in Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno State.

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“In the fierce encounter which is still raging as at the time of filing this report, troops supported by the Air Component of OPHK have destroyed five A-Jet, two A-29, two Dragon combat vehicles and nine gun trucks.”

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“Sadly, a gallant senior officer, Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu, and three soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice in a very rare display of gallantry as they provided reinforcement in a counteroffensive against the terrorists, and successfully defended the location. The family of the senior officer and soldiers have been contacted,” the statement titled, ‘Operation Hadin Kai: Troops neutralise several ISWAP terrorists, destroy equipment in Uba encounter,’ added.

Nwachukwu said the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, commiserated with the families and relations of the deceased soldiers.

He added that he had directed the troops to continue in the ferocious counteroffensive and hot pursuit to eliminate the remnant of the fleeing terrorists.

The Nigerian Army on Saturday said a senior officer, Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu, and three soldiers were killed in an operation by troops of Operation Hadin Kai against Islamic State West Africa Province members in Borno State.

 Buhari, Zulum mourn

Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and the Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, have condoled with the military over the death of the soldiers

Buhari has said he was saddened to hear about the death of the general and three soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice in a rare display of gallantry as they tried to help their compatriots in the war against terrorists.

The President, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, titled ‘President Buhari, nation mourn martyred general,’ said, “Nigeria has lost brave soldiers. I salute their courage. May their souls rest In peace. General Zirkusu leaves us sad and devastated. The soldier in him will remain immortal. I pray to the Almighty to give you and the bereaved families the strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss.”

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On his part, Zulum commended the Nigerian military for its resilience in a battle with the terrorist group.

In a statement by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, the governor while commiserating with with the military over the loss of some military officers, thanked the fallen heroes for what he called “their supreme sacrifices to the Nigerian Nation,” adding that “the people of Borno will remain forever grateful to them and all fallen heroes, and will remain fully supported of gallant troops currently operating in front lines”.

The governor also commiserated with the residents affected by the attack.

“Today’s unfortunate incident in Askira Uba Local Government Area reminds us that while our military, other armed forces, volunteers and all stakeholders make combined severe efforts towards peace-building; while many insurgents surrender their arms to toe the path of peace and while reclaimed communities witness return of peace and access to livelihoods, some insurgents are hell-bent on ensuring we do not fully regain peace.

“The goal of these categories of insurgents should challenge us to remain focused and ceaselessly commit ourselves to support our troops in many ways, particularly with logistics on the part of the government, and with credible information and prayers on the part of all of us as people of Borno State.”

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