Soldiers Kill 44 Boko Haram Members, Captures 2 Foreign Mercenaries

The Nigerian military on Monday said it killed over 44 members of the radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram during gun battle at Kerenoa and adjoining communities.

The Director of Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, who made this known in a statement, said the Islamist were ambushed by troops who repelled them during a pre-dawn attack on the targeted communities.

He said that the terrorists were armed with IEDs and other high calibre weapons during the operation, adding that several of them were captured with weapons and ammunitions of various calibres recovered from them.

Olukolade, however, revealed that troops on routine patrol around Banki and Miyanti in Borno State at the weekend fought through an ambush laid by terrorists resulting in casualties on both sides. He said the military casualty was among the soldiers that died over the weekend.

Similarly, the spokesman said the army had taken over Balmo forest following a military operation that lasted throughout the weekend.

According to him, the forest, which stretches from Bauchi through Jigawa States, with links to the fringes of Sambisa forest, was used by terrorists as bases and hideouts for launching attacks. Sambisa forest is considered the main base of the Boko Haram insurgent group.

Olukolade said the terrorists and armed gangs operating in the forests were completely rooted out while some were captured during the operation.

The military spokesman said those captured were two foreigners suspected to be mercenaries.

He said six soldiers were killed in various encounters with terrorists during the weekend while those injured are receiving treatment, adding that several weapons and equipment including power generating sets, communication equipment, vehicles, motorcycles, foodstuff and kitchen utensils were also recovered during the operation.

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