At least 850 soldiers attached to the 322 Artillery Battalion, and the Fourth Brigade Garrison, Ekeunwa, Benin City, the Edo State capital were reportedly ambushed by suspected Boko Haram terrorist group between Okene and Lokoja, Kogi State.The incident which reportedly took place on Sunday night was made known on September 15, 2014, Monday, by the Punch.It was reported that the soldiers were shortlisted for a counter-terrorism course at the Nigerian Army Training Centre in Kontagora, Niger State. They were deployed to boost the ongoing counter-terrorism operation in Borno and Adamawa states after completing their counter- insurgency course.
A security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that four of the soldiers sustained serious injuries but no life was lost in the attack. He said the attack is suspected to have been carried out by Boko Haram because of the sophisticated weapons the assailants used while shooting at the vans conveying the soldiers from both sides.The source further revealed that the gallant soldiers also shot their way through the ambush and slept at the Army formation in Lokoja. He said the injured soldiers have been taken to a military facility in Lokoja for medical attention.
“It was not long that the soldiers returned from a peacekeeping operation in Sudan; they were members of the NIBBATT 41 that returned to the country about two months ago. The soldiers were taken unawares as the attackers operated from both sides of the road and got four of the soldiers seriously wounded” the source said.
The source, however, expressed believe that the insurgents may have been tipped off on the movement of the troops from Benin to Kontagora. He said the soldiers have left for Kontagora to participate in the planned course.When the Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, was contacted for confirmation of the ambush, is mobile phone was switched off.
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that no fewer than 190 Nigerian soldiers were on January 19, 2013, ambushed by insurgents a few kilometres from Okene, Kogi State. The sect reportedly cut through the convoy of Mali-bound Nigerian Army peacekeepers travelling in three luxury buses via Kaduna to Bamako, Mali. One of the convoy was reportedly blown by improvised explosive devices planted on the highway, which was later accompanied by heavy gunfire. Two soldiers died, while others sustained injuries. Days after, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan, a breakaway group from Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, has hinted that they might know the location of the jet, which disappeared after last Friday operation against Boko Haram in Konduga, Borno State.