The Nigerian Army has revealed that 23 of its personnel were killed and 31 others wounded when the Boko Haram insurgents overran the military base at Metele in Borno state.
This was contained in a statement released by the Army Wednesday night, ten days after the deadly attack.
“As at date 23 personnel were killed in action and 31 personnel were wounded in action and have been evacuated to several medical hospitals within Borno State,” Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman said in the statement.
Usman also confirmed that between November 2nd and 17th the insurgents attacked troops’ positions at Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto and Gajiram.
He said troops repelled those attacks but lost 16 soldiers, while 12 others sustained injuries in those incidents.
“The sacrifices of these fallen heroes will not be in vain. We also wish all those wounded in action speedy recovery and assure them of our continued support and care,” Usman said
The Army had in its first statement about the attack said “the NOKs are first notified before any form of public information” on level of casualties during attacks.
Prior to this, there had been contrary claims by a military personnel among the troop that was attacked, who told foreign news agency Reuters that “the insurgents took us unawares. We lost about 100 soldiers. It is a huge loss.”
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, on Sunday, however, said the Military did not release the casualty figures in line with global practice.
“All over the world, the military does not or rarely disclose the figure of its casualties,” Adesina said in an interview with Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
A fact-check by The Guardian showed the Adesina’s claim is untrue.
The attack has been condemned by security analysts while many Nigerians are also questioning how the $1 billion approved in April for firearms was used.
Soldiers complained about the deplorable state of their equipment in a five-minute video seen on Saturday, a soldier, while lamenting that dozens of troops had died in a recent attack, showed the burnt shells of several tanks and vehicles in the Metele base.
“See the weapons they bring here. These are not working. These are outdated vehicles, they are not working. They just keep them here for formality,” the soldier said.
President Buhari while reacting expressed deep shock on the attack and summoned the defence chiefs afterwards.