Terrorists of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) have killed Brigadier-General Dzarma Zirkusu, the commander of 28 Task Force Brigade, Chibok, alongside a number of others, while on their way to reinforce troops at Bungulwa village, near Askira Uba.
The attack on the Nigerian troops in Askira Uba, Mulai, Ngamdu and Buniyadi in the North-East at the weekend came hours after top commanders of ISWAP were killed in military airstrikes.
PRNigeria had reported that scores of the ISWAP commanders were eliminated and others injured on Friday by sustained aerial bombardments from the military jets, when they were holding a meeting with their new leader, Sani Shuwaram, at Sabon Tumbun and Jibularam, in Marte Local Government Area in Borno State.
In what seems like a reprisal, the insurgents, on several gun trucks stormed some communities to avenge the loss of their top commanders.
PRNigeria quoted an intelligence officer to have that the terrorists also destroyed telecommunication masts.
“The ISWAP terrorists who invaded the Askira Uba town destroyed telecommunication masts with guns and other firearms in their possession, forcing residents to flee,” the source was quoted as saying.
“A military commander was killed in an ambush while leading troops on reinforcement operation. Some soldiers were also killed.
“Another group of terrorists attacked Mulai village, close to Maiduguri and rustled some cattle while another gang of fighters attacked a communication mast and health centre in Buni Yadi, Yobe State and carted away generator set and drugs.
“At Ngamdu, in Kaga Local Government of Borno, ISWAP terrorists suffered a devastating blow in the hands of the troops, unfortunately, three Special Force operatives paid the Supreme sacrifice during the encounter.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army in a statement on Saturday, by its spokesman, General Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed the killing of Zirkusu, but said troops of Joint Task Force, North East Operation HADIN KAI neutralized several ISWAP terrorists during the recent encounter in Askira Uba.
He said, “In the fierce encounter which is still raging as at the time of filling this report, troops supported by the Air Component of OPHK have destroyed five A – Jet, two A-29, two Dragon combat vehicles and nine Gun Trucks.
“Sadly, a gallant senior officer Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu and three soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice in a very rare diplay of gallantry as they provided reinforcement in a counter offensive against the terrorists, and successfully defended the location. The family of the senior officer and soldiers have been contacted.
“The Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya deeply commiserates with the families and relations of the fallen heroes. He has also directed that the troops continue in the ferrocious counter offensive and hot pursuit to eliminate the remnant of the fleeing terrorists.”