How Military Recaptured Marte Army Base From Terrorists After 20 Hours Onslaught, Destroyed Seven More Boko Haram Gun Trucks
The Defence Headquarters of the Nigerian military said the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole has destroyed additional seven gun trucks, and eliminated scores of ISWAP terrorists who attempted to reinforce attack at Marte, in Borno.
Troops had recaptured Marte, a strategic town in Borno state, from Boko Haram elements who overwhelmed two Nigerian Army formations in a surprise attack.
Several soldiers and a few officers reportedly ‘went missing’ on Friday after the insurgents attacked the 153 Infantry Battalion and the 22 Armored Brigade.
A security source told one of our correspondents that the military mobilised all its arsenal, including air support as well as troops from Dikwa and Monguno, to ensure that the town remained under the control of the Nigerian Army after about 20 hours of fighting with the isurgents.
“Our troops are currently in Marte town as we speak. We are in control of it”, he said.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, John Enenche, in a statement on Sunday, said the success came after the earlier destruction of seven gun trucks by combined ground and air operations.
Mr Enenche, a major general, said the troops had successfully repelled a Boko Haram/Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), terrorists’ attack on Marte on the night of Jan. 15, into early hours of Jan.16.
He said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter gunships had engaged the convoy of ISWAP gun trucks as they approached Marte axis for reinforcement.
According to him, the helicopters delivered accurate hits in their multiple waves of attack, obliterating no fewer than six additional gun trucks, which were seen engulfed in flames across the battle space.
“Several other terrorists were mopped-up in follow-on attacks as the helicopter gunships continued to strafe the fleeing ISWAP elements.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria, operating in concert with other security agencies and stakeholders, will sustain the offensive against the enemies of our Great Nation.
“We shall not relent until normalcy is restored, not only in the Northeast, but also in every other troubled part of our beloved country,” Mr Enenche said.
Air support was said to have been sent to the ground troops, apparently as a result of the significant level of threat posed to civilian returnees as confirmed by a statement from an officer in the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) on Saturday at 3:34pm.
Brigadier-General Bernard Onyeuko, acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, said in the statement that troops of Operation Tura Ta Kai Bango, in conjunction with the Air Task Force Operation Lafiya Dole “have effectively destroyed seven Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists’ gun trucks and decimated several unconfirmed number of the terrorists when they attempted to attack their [the troops’] location at the outskirts of Marte.
“The gallant troops, based on reliable information about the attack, had positioned themselves in an ambush site where they tactically withdrew to and awaited the arrival of the terrorists before they opened fire, which led to fierce battle that resulted in the successes recorded as indicated above.
“The troops are still engaged in pursuit of the fleeing terrorists for further exploitation. Further details of interest to members of the public will be communicated later,” the statement read.
Both army formations were in one base when the insurgents launched an assault on them.
Troops were said to have withdrawn from their positions when they were overpowered.
“Troops tried very hard and almost suppressed the offensive, but the insurgents sent reinforcements.
“Troops could not withstand the superior firepower of the insurgents and had to abandon their positions,” a military source confirmed on Saturday.
Retreat to Dikwa
Most of the soldiers and officers sought refuge in Dikwa town, which has an army base, while many others have not been accounted for, the source added.
The insurgents were said to have looted valuables, including large caliber guns, before setting the army installations ablaze.
The brigade commander and the commanding officer of the battalion were among those who retreated to Dikwa, where the General Officer Commanding 7 Division was supposed to meet with them on Saturday, the source added.
A similar attack had taken place on the battalion on June 1, 2020, which later relocated to Dikwa and returned to Marte after the brigade was sent there.
During last year’s assault, 18 soldiers went missing and are yet to be accounted for, while the decomposed corpses of three soldiers were later recovered.