Army chief survives Boko Haram attack

Lt Gen Tukur Buratai

Suspected Boko Haram fighters ambushed a convoy carrying the head of the Nigerian army, the military said yesterday, sparking a firefight in which 10 militants and a soldier were killed.

Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, who was unharmed, was visiting troops in the northeast on Saturday when insurgents attacked in Faljari village, 45km east of Borno State capital Maiduguri, army spokesperson Sani Usman said in a statement.

“The terrorists encountered an overwhelming firepower from the troops in which 10 of them were killed. The troops captured five terrorists,” he said.

“During the encounter, sadly, we lost a soldier, while an officer and four soldiers sustained gunshot wounds.”

News of the attack came with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon due to arrive in Nigeria later yesterday to commemorate the fourth anniversary of a deadly attack on the global body by Boko Haram in the capital Abuja.

The Islamist group has stepped up its attacks in Borno and two neighbouring states in its northeastern heartland since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in May.

The fresh wave of violence has claimed more than 1 000 lives over the last three months, dealing a setback to a four-country offensive launched in February that had chalked up a number of victories against the jihadists.- AFP.