Suspected Boko Haram militants reportedly sack military base in Borno, kill Commander, send soldiers fleeing
Suspected Boko Haram militants overran a Nigerian army base in the village of Kareto in northeastern Borno state, killing at least a Commander, according to a report from Reuters.
The attack reportedly occurred as Nigeria commemorated Democracy Day on Wednesday, June 12, 2019.
However, information is always slow to emerge from the northeast owing in large part to destroyed telecommunication facilities in the region.
Kareto village lies some 130 kilometers from the Borno State capital of Maiduguri.
How it reportedly happened
According to Reuters, the insurgents overran troops from the Nigeria Army’s 158th Battalion stationed at Kareto, killing at least their commanding officer and causing the remaining soldiers to flee.
A security source volunteered information of the attack, Reuters states.
It was also not immediately clear whether the attackers were affiliated with terrorist sects Boko Haram or the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).
After the assault, the militants left Kareto, but remained in the area, hiding in plain sight in surrounding bushes and lonely roads.
No other details about possible further casualties were available in the report from Reuters.
The Boko Haram scourge
Boko Haram has killed more than 30,000 people and displaced millions more since it commenced its insurgency against the Nigerian state in 2009.
On Sunday, November 18, 2018, Boko Haram terrorists overran the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, carting away large cache of arms and military equipment after leaving the base strewn with the corpses of dozens of soldiers.
The latest attack of a military base is at odds with the Nigerian military’s public statements detailing how the sects have been decimated.
The military recently stated that it is “making major breakthroughs” in its campaign against Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West African branch.
The Nigerian federal government repeatedly claims that Boko Haram has been “technically defeated” and that its pockets of soft target attacks in recent times are akin to the last kicks of a dying horse.
In his second-term inaugural speech, President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria was meeting security challenges “with much greater support to the security forces in terms of money, equipment and improved local intelligence. We are meeting these challenges with superior strategy, firepower and resolve”.
He also added that “when I took the oath of office on 29 May 2015, insecurity reigned. Apart from occupying 18 local governments in the North East, Boko Haram could at will attack any city including the Federal Capital, could threaten any institution including bombing the United Nations building and Police Headquarters in Abuja”.
However, sustained efforts to eradicate the insurgents have failed and the military continues to suffer heavy losses.
Boko Haram has also kidnapped schoolgirls and aid workers since Buhari took over from Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Nigerian leader in 2015.
The Nigerian army wasn’t immediately available for comments for this story when we reached out.
Reuters also reports that Nigerian army spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests for comment.