The Boko Haram insurgents who laid an ambush for oil workers in Borno state on Tuesday killed nine soldiers. A senior military officer, who disclosed this said the military is trying to keep the information away from the public.
The ambush happened at Magumeri in Gubio local government area of the state.
The source said the convoy of the oil workers and soldiers came under bombardment for hours and that no reinforcement team came to their rescue.
“As of 9pm, no rescue reinforcement was deployed from either the Nigerian air force component of the operation or troops of Operation Lafiya Dole. The victims were left to their fate,” he said.
“Between yesterday and today, only ten of the victims can be confirmed to be alive. The five oil workers that escaped the attack yesterday were hospitalised at the Borno state specialist hospital.
“Also this morning, around 5am precisely, five others who escaped also called and told us their location.
“The five victims at the state specialist hospital told us that out of the ten vehicles which conveyed the team from Magumeri, only their vehicle escaped the attack with bullets holes, flat tyres and smashed wind screen.
“They said the insurgents chased them for more than 10 kilometres.”
Another senior security official said that locals in the area said the insurgents spent three hours at a village known as Ali Ashani.
The villagers reportedly said the militants observed prayers in the village before moving.
Efforts made to reach Sani Usman, army spokesman, for confirmation were abortive, as he neither answered his phone nor responded to a text message sent to him.
But Ndu Ughamadu, spokesperson of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), confirmed that 10 scientists were abducted in the state.
He told said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the corporation was worried about the incident.
He said those kidnapped were staff of the geology and survey department of the University of Maidguri, which a subsidiary of the NNPC had engaged for oil exploration in Lake Chad.
“The processes and procedures for oil exploration in the Lake Chad basin are these: We have a unit here known as frontier exploration services – in charge of exploration activities. So, they were the ones carrying out activities there, but they contracted the job out to our subsidiary known as IDSL in Benin; IDSL, in turn, contracted it to the University of Maiduguri – their geology and surveying department – so they were the ones involved in this,” he said.
“The management is worried, and the group managing director has asked the security unit of the NNPC to swiftly move into the matter. And we are in touch with the defence arm of the government to ensure that they are rescued. From the report we got about 10 of them were abducted.”
Boko Haram stepped up attacks after some of its commanders were swapped with 82 Chibok schoolgirls.
The sect has also become deadlier since Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, ordered his men to capture Abubakar Shekau, leader of the group, within 40 days.