Violent Boko Haram militants on Sunday night engaged Nigerian troops in a fierce battle in their new bid to take over Gulak, the administrative headquarters of Madagali in northern part of Adamawa State. According to Sahara Reporters, the Soldiers stationed at the base fled, leaving men of the civilian JTF to defend the town of Gulak.
Premium Times newspaper first reported that “soldiers from the 157 Battalion, including their commanding officer, were missing in action along with the tank, three artillery guns and eight trucks including one carrying 60,000 rounds of ammunition,” the report said.
According to security and local sources, the insurgents came in three vehicles brandishing guns. James Ularamu, a former chairman of the council said by the time the military sent reinforcements, the insurgents had burnt down a military base, three artillery and carted away guns. It was also reported that the terrorists drove away an army T-72 tank, and took many military camouflage uniforms.
They came around 7 p.m. and started firing on the soldiers during which all the soldiers ran away. There was pandemonium, people scampered for their lives, many slept in bushes, they killed one soldier during the fierce battle.
Our local vigilantes had tried by staying back, until another troop was deployed from Madagali town and Shuwa, they engaged them, if not they would have recaptured the town for the second time,” said James Ularamu, former chairman of Madagali.
A former Council chairman, and local vigilante who did not want to be named, said there was heavy gun battle. He couldn’t say whether there were casualties from the Boko Haram side:
After we chased them away they fled to the nearby Sambisa area.”
Efforts to get the army spokesperson were futile, but a member representing the area at the house of Representatives, Adamu Kamale, confirmed the attack. He, however said he did not have “much details for now”.
The state commissioner of information, Ahmed Sajo, said additional troops had been deployed to the area.
However, amidst reports of searches being conducted to find the 107 missing troops, the military has maintained that no soldiers were missing. This attack is coming barely two weeks after Boko Haram insurgents at Gudunbali, Borno State attacked the 157 Battalion of the Nigerian Army. Over 100 soldiers, including their commanding officer, were reported missing. Army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman, said the troops had returned, but images showing dead soldiers emerged online, questioning his comment.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai previously expressed confidence that Boko-Haram will be banished from Nigeria by December, but with the recent rise in the tempo and range of attacks of this dreaded terrorist group, the Nigerian government is compelled to admit it will not be able to crush by December, this 6-year uprising that has eliminated over 20,000 people.