Seven soldiers, including an army colonel, were feared killed on Wednesday by suspected Boko Haram insurgents along the Maiduguri-Damaturu Road.
The army’s escort, according to residents of Jakana and Mainok, ran into fleeing terrorists that retreated from a heavy exchange of gunfire of troops at Jakana, 40 kilometers from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
While confirming the incident, Spokesman of Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Ado Isa, in a text message, however, said: “Not confirmed sir. No confirmation on the subject.”
Also, two soldiers were shot dead by suspected kidnappers at a construction site in Ukanafun Local Council of Akwa Ibom State as the expatriate engineer working at the site was whisked away.
The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon at the site of a construction firm where the engineer was on inspection of the Ikot Ibritam, Inen Ekeffe and Odoro Ikot to Ukanafun road project awarded by Akwa Ibom State government.
An eyewitness, Mr. Friday Idiok, told The Guardian that the two soldiers were killed while escorting the expatriate on a routine inspection of the road project along Idim Okpok mini bridge in Inen Ekeffe, the boundary village between OrukAnam and Ukanafun Local Council.
According to him, the gunmen abducted the expatriate immediately the two soldiers were shot dead on the spot and residents ran away for fear of arrest by security operatives.
“There was sporadic shooting here and before you know what was happening, two soldiers were dead. The gunmen also escaped with the soldiers’ guns and took the expatriate to their hideout. We are in terrible fears because we don’t know what the government would do in this matter,” he said.
Also, the Clan Head of Inen, His Royal Highness, Obong Johnson Johnny Obosi, told journalists that members of the community were at the burial ground of one of their sons, Mr. Udoimoh, when they heard gunshots and the residents ran away.
“We were at the burial of one of our brothers and when we were about to be entertained, we heard gunshots. The next report was that two soldiers attached to expatriates working on the road construction project that links my community with Ukanafun have been killed and an expatriate kidnapped,” the monarch said.”
Obong Obosi, who could not establish the nationality of the kidnapped expatriate, said soldiers from Ibagwa Barracks arrived in their ambulance and carried the dead soldiers to the mortuary.
“We wonder why this incident should happen. The project had continued smoothly in OrukAnam axis but when it gets to Ukanafun, killing and kidnapping set in. The government must look inward to fish out perpetrators of this crime,” he further said.
Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Odiko said the police got the report and were working out a strategy to arrest the suspects.
“We have received information about the unfortunate dastardly incident at the road project in Ikot Ibritam, Inen Ekeffe leading to Ukanafun.
“We are working with our sister agencies to identify, arrest and prosecute those involved,” he said.