The Nigerian military has neutralised scores of suspected members of the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) terrorist group blocking the Maiduguri-Damaturu road wreaking havoc on commuters on Thursday.
They were reportedly repelled with the help of air support from the Nigeria Airforce and later fled the scene where they took siege of Lawan Mainari village about 30 km from Mainoc.
A source within the Rapid Response Squad involved in patrolling the 130 km expressway said “Three guntrucks were recovered from a location at about twenty kilometres away from the scene of incident, after they tried to escape on sighting backup troops advance.”
According to sources present at the scene, “about five abducted commuters were later released by the insurgents after a hot chase by the combined team of the Airforce and the troops on the ground.
“They were abducted because they could not escape like some national youth service corps members coming in from Damaturu who escaped into the Savannah on sighting the criminals only to resurface after the presence of military backups on the road.”
Confirming this development on Friday, the Nigerian Army via their verified Twitter handle said, “Gallant Troops of 115 Battalion neutralised several ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorists during an aggressive clearance operation on Thursday, 9 June 2022. Troops also recovered one gun truck, two civilian hilux vehicles, arms and ammunitions.”
Reliable military sources also said that “Many of them were eliminated, with troops still chasing those hours after they escaped from the roadblock yesterday. They actually gained entrance to the main road by filling the trenches around unknown to the residents. Actually, no civilian vehicle was burnt in the criminal act of the insurgents.
“The vehicles were stopped indeed and there was no movement from about midmorning due to fear. The road was blocked during the encounter and then later reopened by troops who were there in time with the theatre commander Major General Chris Musa. 3 Gun trucks were recovered with lots of weapons. One of the gun trucks was destroyed completely because they came with 4 gun trucks to try our will power.”
Commissioner of Police, Abdu Umar while chatting with newsmen however regretted that while the group coming in from Biu landed safely with all their men, he lost three policemen in the team that took the Damaturu-Maiduguri road to base.
ISWAP had since claimed responsibility for the attack even as the three policemen that died in the ambush have since been buried.