Some soldiers, their commanding officer and many vigilantes from Bama town in Borno State have reportedly gone missing after they were ambushed by suspected Boko Haram terrorists while on their way for an operation on Friday.
Sources confirmed that a search for the missing soldiers and vigilantes was launched yesterday.
One of the sources told Daily Trust on Sunday that the troops who were based in Bama town in central Borno, were ambushed around 2pm Friday near a village called Bulagallaye, while moving in a convoy of 16 Hilux trucks loaded with soldiers and vigilantes.
“They were on their way for an operation in Bulagallaye along Bama /Dikwa axis when the assailants ambushed them,” the source said.
According to him, “you know this is raining season and operations along that axis are increasingly becoming tough because of the terrain. One of the trucks in the convoy got stuck in the muddy area and while efforts were being made to pull out the truck, the terrorists attacked”.
Another source said, “there was exchange of gunfire, but the Boko Haram assailants were equally large in number, forcing the troops to retreat with six of the vehicles while about nine could not be accounted for.
“And around 8 am today (yesterday), there was no credible news about many of the troops including the vigilantes,” he said.
A local in Maiduguri, Babagana Musa, said there was noticeable movement of military vehicles and ambulances along Bama road between 12 and 4pm yesterday.
But other sources said at about 5.30pm yesterday, some of the missing soldiers and vigilantes had returned to their base in Bama and that some trucks were in the bushes.
“The terrorists did not destroy the vehicles; they only removed the anti-aircraft guns mounted on the security gadgets,” he said.
Bama is the second largest town in Borno State, after Maiduguri, and thousands of IDPs who were dislodged by the Boko Haram have gone back home.
The military was yet to react to the matter at the time of going to press.