The soldiers were engaged in a fierce firefight with insurgents on Saturday.
A squad of Nigerian soldiers that engaged Boko Haram fighters this weekend did not flee from the insurgents, Defence Headquarters said on Sunday, noting that they instead adopted a tactical withdrawal that later paid off.
The insurgents struck a camp of Nigerian soldiers in Marte, Borno, on Saturday in an attempt to overrun the base, Defence spokesman Bernard Onyeuko said in a statement.
The soldiers reportedly retreated from the base and jihadists took it over for the most part of Saturday. The attack sparked immediate concerns about a reinvigorated Boko Haram, following a few weeks of relative calm on the frontlines of the campaign, now in its eleventh year.
But Mr. Onyeuko, a brigadier-general, said it was untrue that the crucial military outpost was taken over. Instead, Nigerian soldiers deliberately implemented a strategy that tricked the insurgents into a false sense of early successes.
“The troops based on reliable information about the attack, positioned themselves in an ambush site where they tactically withdrew to and awaited the arrival of the terrorists before they opened fire which led to fierce battle,” Mr. Onyeuko said.
He said the troops have taken control of the base and have launched a hot pursuit of the criminals, a claim Peoples Gazette could not independently corroborate.
CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF COMMENDS AIR TASK FORCE OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE FOR PLAYING DECISIVE ROLES IN A BATTLE WITH TERRORISTS IN MARTE AXIS
Following an encounter/ambush by troops of Operation TURA TAKAIBANGO against Boko Haram terrorists when they attempted to attack troops’ location at the outskirts of Marte, in Borno State, during which the Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE played a decisive/commendable role in the destruction of 7 terrorists’ gun trucks and decimation of unconfirmed number of the insurgents.
The Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai, hereby appreciates and commends the troops, especially the Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE for their heroic and patriotic actions which resulted in the successes recorded. He urged them to maintain the momentum and expedite actions to ensure speedy final defeat of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in Nigeria.
Director Army Public Relations
16 January 2021