The Nigerian Army, in a statement by its spokesperson, Sani Usman, has confirmed that at least nine soldiers and a civilian were killed after Boko Haram members kidnapped Nigerian oil workers who were on an oil exploration mission in the Lake Chad basin.
Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, also said the kidnapped oil workers, who were recruited by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had been rescued.
“So far, they (troops) have rescued all the NNPC staff and recovered the corpses of the officer, 8 soldiers and a civilian who have been deposited at the 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital.” Mr. Usman said without giving the total number of rescued NNPC officials.
A local government chairperson in Borno had earlier told journalists that seven people were rescued by the soldiers.
The council chairman of Magumeri Local Government Area, Zanna Modu, informed journalists via a phone interview that the rescue was effected on Wednesday after a heated gun battle between soldiers and members of the terror group.
Although Mr. Usman did not provide details of the slain soldiers, PREMIUM TIMES got their identity from reliable military sources, but has decided to keep their names for now until their families are notified.
The officers include a lieutenant, two corporals, a lieutenant corporal, and five privates.
Mr. Usman added that the soldiers recovered 4 vehicles, one of which includes a gun truck mounted with an anti-aircraft gun, two white Hilux vans, and a blue one belonging to the Civilian Joint Task Force.
“The team also recovered large quantities of arms and ammunition, several spare tyres, many jerry cans of containing petroleum, oil and lubricant, assorted drugs, Improvised Explosive Device, IEDs, reflective jackets and a Motorola handheld radio, among others.
The team also neutralized many of the terrorists,” said.
“The team also neutralised many of the terrorists,” he added.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the oil workers were kidnapped with the NNPC spokesperson saying they were not NNPC officials but staff of the Geology department of the University of Maiduguri to whom the state oil firm had sub-contracted some of the exploration task.
The North-east region has been rocked by an insurgency that has claimed over 100, 000 lives and still suffers attacks on soft targets by Boko Haram militants who are seeking to establish an Islamic rule.