By our reporter
Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, Sunday spoke on how the ISWAP fighters killed the Commander of the 28 Task Force Brigade, Chibok, Brig-Gen. Dzarma Zirkushu, on Saturday.
Senator Ndume (Borno South) was addressing reporters in Abuja over the attacks on Askira in Borno by ISWAP terrorists during which Zirkushu, some soldiers and many terrorists were killed.
He said: “ISWAP terrorists attacked a town there. They knew that the General was the major obstacle to their operation. They laid an ambush and rammed a bomb-laden car into his vehicle.
“He was a gallant soldier. He took the fight to the terrorists. His death has sent a panic to people in that area.”
Ndume also raised the alarm that ISWAP fighters were regrouping in the Lake Chad axis.
He said though the troops had been taking out key ISWAP commanders in Borno, the intensity of the attack on Askira was worrisome and urged other security agencies to give the army the needed support.
He urged residents around Chibok area to be calm and not relocate, assuring that the Nigerian Army has what it takes to take the fight to the insurgents.
He said: “I want to express my condolences to the Nigerian Army over the death of the General who died along Chibok road.
“For now, we’ll assume that it was an isolated case. But the intensity with which they came is worrisome.
“They (terrorists) came with more than 10 gun trucks. They’re also regrouping around Borno North. That’s Lake Chad axis.
“The military is aware and the Air Force is providing surveillance in the area. It was a revenge mission. The army has been taking out key ISWAP commanders and they had their revenge.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya on Sunday led a team of top brass of the Nigerian Army in a condolence visit to the family of the late Commander 28 Task Force Brigade, Brig Gen Dzarma Zirkusu .
Nigerian Army mourns late Brigadier General Zirkusu who was killed in a battle last Saturday in Askira Uba LGA of Borno State , Nigeria, while defending the location against invading Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists.
General Yahaya commiserated with families of the fallen heroes and prayed for the repose of his soul and other departed colleagues.
He urged the good people of the North East to continue to support the ongoing counter insurgency operations as he reaffirmed troops’ renewed operational readiness to aggressively confront the criminal elements.
A statement signed by the director army public relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu on Monday said troops of Joint Task Force, North East(NE) Operation HADIN KAI(OPHK) have neutralized over 50 Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists and destroyed several of their combat equipment in a fierce counter offensive in Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno State following the sad incident of November 13.
According to the army, “in the counter offensive, troops eliminated top commanders of ISWAP as well as foot soldiers. The gallant troops also unleashed massive destruction on the terrorists’ Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and several Gun Trucks.
“It would be recalled, that 115 Task Force Battalion had an encounter with ISWAP terrorists in Askira Uba on 13 November 2021, during which the troops aggressively defended their location and followed up with a ferocious counter attack. Unfortunately, the Commander 28 Task Force Brigade along side three of his soldiers paid the supreme price, as they reinforced troops to defend the location.
“While the battle raged, the gallant troops of 25 Task Force Brigade, supported by Air Component of OPHK engaged the terrorists in a hot pursuit. Troops made contact with the fleeing terrorists at Leho village within Askira Uba LGA and in the encounter that ensued, troops eliminated scores of terrorists and destroyed their combat equipment.
“The equipment destroyed by troops include, an MRAP vehicle and 11 Gun Trucks. The troops also recovered large cache of arms and ammunition viz., Five Gun Trucks, two Anti Aircraft Guns, five AK 47 rifles, one HK Machine Gun and one HK Machine Gun links.
“Relatedly, troops of 115 Task Force Battalion conducted a dawn exploitation towards Leho village and environs, where they discovered 3 corpses of the fleeing terrorists and also recovered 2,560 rounds of 7.62mm Special and 29 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition abandoned by the terrorists.
“In a separate operation, troops have also recovered one AK 47 rifle and uncovered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) during a patrol in Karawa village and Baga Fish Dam area respectively.
The IED has been safely detonated by a team of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit,” the statement added.