By Zakariya Musa, Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)
An attack on Askira Uba left soldiers and many terrorists killed, shops and cars burnt, a few civilians sustaining stray bullet injuries in the encounter that seemed to be a revenge mission by Islamic State West Africa Province (IWAP) for a recent attack on the terrorists’ camp in Sambisa by the Joint Task Force. Many of the terrorists were neutralized after their attempt to wage an attack on a village call Bungulwa, village locals said.
Director of Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, confirming the killings:
“In the fierce encounter which is still raging as at the time of filing this report, troops supported by the Air Component of OPHK have destroyed five A-Jet combat trucks, two A-29 artillery weapons, two Dragon combat vehicles and nine Gun Trucks. Sadly, a gallant senior officer, Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu, and three soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice in a very rare display of gallantry as they provided reinforcement in a counteroffensive against the terrorists, and successfully defended the location. The Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya deeply commiserates with the families and relations of the fallen heroes.”
“We were able to hold church service but a Catholic church whose location is close to the scene of the attacks could not hold Sunday worship,” said church officials, where EYN has two District Church Councils (DCC) that were recently established.
Two of the killed soldiers attended EYN in Askira.
Pastors in the area said they are back in their houses after the attack, but movements are restricted as of the time of reporting.
Some parts of Askira Uba share porous boundaries with Sambisa forest, which is the hideout of terrorists.
Due to the closure of the Maiduguri-Damboa Road, which is about 150 km., equivalent to 2 hours’ drive, it is now taking more than 5 to 10 hours for motorists. The only optional roads are Maiduguri to Bama to Gwoza to Michika Uba, or Maiduguri to Damaturu to Biu to Gombi to Hong to Mubi Road, which is over 500 km. drive from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Tarfa community in Kwajaffa in Hawul Local Government area was attacked on Sunday. Six houses were selectively burnt while the villagers fled to the bush. They call for more prayers as the ISWAP intensify attacks on many villages in a time when farmers are harvesting their crops.
— Zakariya Musa is head of Media for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria. Find a Reuters report on the battle that took place on Nov. 13 at www.reuters.com/world/africa/nigerian-army-general-troops-killed-iswap-attack-2021-11-13.
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