The Nigerian Army on Friday buried 19 soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents in the November 18 attack on a military base in Metele, Borno State.
The Soldiers’ bodies were laid to rest at the military cemetery in the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri, after prayers were conducted by Muslim and Christian chaplains.
The military had insisted that only 23 persons were killed during the attack on the 157 Task Force Battalion while 31 others sustained injuries, as against the over 100 slain soldiers reported in the media.
Listed among the deceased were Lt. Col. Ibrahim Sakaba.
In his address, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, described the fallen soldiers as heroes.
Buratai, who was represented by the Chief, Army training and Operations, Maj. Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, disclosed that the remaining four soldiers left unburied would be interred as soon as their relatives arrived in Maiduguri.
The COAS lamented that the army had in the last few days lost some of his personnel and equipment due to an upsurge of the activities of insurgents.
He, however, said that the setback recorded would not deter the troops from their commitment to defeat the Boko Haram insurgents.
He reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to end insurgency, protect lives and property as well as restore peace in the Northeast.
Buratai said that the military authorities would take care of the families of the fallen heroes, in line with its welfare scheme, and prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased and the fortitude for the families to bear the loss.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is committed to the improvement of soldiers’ welfare and the provision of equipment to ensure the successful campaign against the Boko Haram insurgents.
“The military will collaborate with sister security organisations in the counter insurgency operation.”
The Army chief, however, urged the troops to be disciplined and relentless in defeating the remnants of the insurgents.
He assured them that the military authorities would deploy additional personnel and equipment to the theatre of operation to facilitate the successful implementation of the counter-insurgency campaign.
The COAS further called on the people to shun fake news and support the military in the ongoing war against insurgency.
On his part, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Mamman Durkwa, commended the military for the sacrifices made in the restoration of peace in the state.
Shettima also announced that the state government would support the families of the fallen heroes to improve their well-being.