No fewer than 48 bodies of victims of the ambush laid by Boko Haram insurgents have been recovered from the scene of the incident in Borno State.
The victims comprising 18 soldiers, 15 Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), five officials of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), and four drivers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were part of the team on oil exploration activities in the Lake Chad Basin.
A national daily (not The AUTHORITY) hinted on Thursday that the corpses were brought to the UNIMAID Teaching Hospital (UMTH), in the state capital.
It quoted sources at the UMTH and the Maimalari Army Barrack as saying that bodies were brought into Maiduguri from the scene of the attack.
Also, six persons who were wounded in the attack but escaped to a community in Yobe State were found dead and brought to Maiduguri.
But the Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, had in a press statement on Wednesday said that all the NNPC officials abducted in the Tuesday’s ambush were rescued.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in UNIMAID on Thursday said five officials of the institution were killed in an attack by Boko Haram insurgents.
Dr Danny Manmam, Chairman of the association told newsmen in Maiduguri that four lectures were still missing.
Mamman, who wore a mournful look, said that the deceased comprises two geologists, two technologists and a driver.
“We were first elated when we heard that the Military rescued the victims. But, to our dismay we discovered that they were all killed.
“Our initial hope to see them alive was dashed. The soldiers brought only dead bodies.
“Four other staff members are still missing and we are seriously concerned about their safety, we do not know their where-abouts”, he said.
The Chairman listed gave the names of two of the victims as Ibrahim Yusuf and Aji Kolo.
Three of the lecturers were identified as Dr. Joseph Millitus, Dr. Manaja Uba and Idris Njodi. The families of Millitus and Uba confirmed that they lost their loved ones in the attack.
Three of the lecturers were identified as Dr Joseph Millitus, Dr Manaja Uba and Idris Njodi. The families of Millitus and Uba confirmed that they lost their loved ones in the attack. Another family said that their member who was on the team had not be seen.
The Spokesman of UNIMAID, Danjuma Gambo, told journalists that he was in Abuja and had limited access to information on the incident.
The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Kingsley Samuel, said the matter was beyond the purview of the 7 Division.
Osinbajo orders Service Chiefs back to Command Centre
Meanwhile, Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday summoned the Service Chiefs to a meeting in Aso Rock and deployed them back to the Command Centre in Borno State to immediately check fresh Boko Haram attacks.
At the closed-door meeting in Aso Rock were the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonishakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai. Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Marahal Ibok-Ete Ibas, and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, as well as Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali.
After the parley, Dan-Ali told State House Correspondents that the Military Chiefs complained of the prevailing rainy season which has diminished the advantage of the troops against Boko Haram insurgents.
The meeting, he said, resolved that the Military be provided with more surveillance equipment and telescopic cameras to enhance their operations and regain any territory or advantage lost to Boko Haram.
According to the Defence Minister, “We agreed that they should move back to the Command Centre again and see what are the things happening there.
“We have also agreed that we should get more surveillance devices, cameras that will be able to see distant attackers coming to the position of our troops.
“Also, the period of the rainy season is a difficult moment for us. We cannot dominate the environment like what we do during the dry season.
“But effort is geared towards regaining back our areas and we assure that all these ambushes that are happening regularly would be stopped.”