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A viral voice note allegedly from one of the soldiers in the Presidential Guards Brigade who were ambushed by terrorists has explained how some officers and men of the Brigade were killed by Boko Haram insurgents in the operation at Bwari/Kubwa road in Abuja.
But Defence Headquarters in a swift reaction yesterday, debunked the voice note, disclosing also that the military killed at least 30 of the terrorists that launched the attack.
The voice note explained: ”There’s one particular school of law which the terrorists wrote to that they were coming to attack. The moment the school received the letter they informed our battalion, which is the Guards Brigade.
”Instantly, we went there and started an all round defence deployment. We were now contemplating that these people who said that they were coming to attack the school may have plan B to attack another place, so we now looked for a nearest prominent target that they may come for as well, and that happens to be one Veritas University, very close to the law school, like3.2km away.
”We went there as well to create all round defence. We were there for over two weeks before this attack came up on Sunday. Normally in the night, we often observed some torchlight in the bush at that Veritas University, they say ‘Ah Ah, who are these people in this bush’.
”We asked those security men in that school, ‘is this how you people normally observe torchlight? They said no. So when it was dawn, we advanced into the bush. It was on Sunday; I went with them myself. Do you get it? I was there.
“When we got there, we saw where the terrorists smoked, killed goat, ate. We saw their tramadol, that was when we confirmed that these people are in this bush. We now re-enforced.
”We had some backup who brought APC, gun trucks, Artillery Team. We now advanced into the bush on Sunday, searching for them. We got to a point where is a body of water and some rock.
”The gun truck could not channel into that particular route, so we had to park them there. That was why we had casualties, to be sincere with you.
“We parked the AA, we parked the GPMG, we parked the gun trucks because we couldn’t advance with them. We went into the bush with our rifles alone and the Ak-47 we were all carrying.
”We didn’t even carry RPG, I am telling you the simple truth. We thought they (terrorists) might just be a pocket of enemy, that maybe they will not be more than 20, 30 or thereabout.
“So the moment we went into the bush, they had seen us from a very far distance, we didn’t see them. They now laid ambush, waiting for us to come and penetrate. They flanked us from left and right, so the moment we got to their own area of responsibility, AOR, my brother it’s a long story. They engaged us.
“We lost four soldiers in my unit; it was three units that went there, 177 and 102 from Keffi, including my unit, 7 guards’ battalion. They dislodged us because they were fully prepared. They used Mortar Shells, IED explosive devices, they shelled us but we still managed to kill 12 of them.
”They succeeded in killing one captain, one lieutenant and two soldiers in my unit. In another unit, we lost one soldier of 177 battalion Keffi, while 102 battalion lost one soldier as well.
“But at least, we engaged them to some extent, so that is the situation but from now, we have been dislodging them since that day through re-enforcement. In short, I don’t think any of them is in that bush again, they’ve all fled through this Kaduna route but we will follow them, we will bombard that place.
”We will go back to the place the gun truck could not penetrate. As I’m talking to you, I’m in National Hospital but we just bless God for everything. So that’s it.
“It is not that they have the mind to face soldiers, they knew we were outside, that is the reason they couldn’t come outside. Had it been there were no soldiers in that law school, the terrorists would have scattered that school but they waited because they knew soldiers were outside and we remained there like it was our barrack.
”We manned the road leading to the school with 10 soldiers everyday, armed with rifles and gun truck. That is how we’ve been doing it till the attack. If you hear anything other than what I am explaining to you now is a lie.
”Everybody is just gathering information to say many things on social media that are not real. As I’m talking to you now, I’m in National Hospital and they are communicating with me because I’m with some soldiers here as well that are injured. You guys should just be helping us in prayers. May God help us all.”
Dismissing the voice note at a briefing in Abuja yesterday, Defence headquarters said the person in the viral voice note was an unknown soldier without identity and should be ignored.
Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko, who debunked the voice note, also said the action of the military authorities in going after the terrorists in Bwari after receiving intelligence on their plans, showed that issues of tackling security challenges were being taken seriously.
“You now know that the military is not sleeping. The soldiers were in that bush for about two weeks. They were not going for a tea party. It is because they were trying to seek and find these terrorists that this incident happened,” he said.
Onyeuko said the troops of 7 Guards Battalion and 176 Battalion conducted the operation in junction with the air component of Operation Whirl Punch, adding that the clearance patrol around Bwari general area lasted between July 24 and 26, 2022.
He added that no fewer than 30 of the terrorists were killed in a combined efforts of the Army and Nigerian Airfoce.
“Ground troops also recovered six motorcycles, two AK47 rifles, 1 fully loaded LMG magazine, among others during mob up”.
He assured members of the public, especially residents of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and its environs not to panic over the recent security breaches witnessed in the country, saying the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies were tackling the security challenges, with a view to ending insurgency activities in the affected areas.
Major General Onyeuko said: “The hierarchy of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies wish to reassure Nigerians of its commitment and pact with all Nigerians.
“People should go about their normal businesses as their safety is guaranteed. The support and cooperation of all Nigerians is hereby solicited as security is everybody’s business”.