Buratai recounts close shave with death in battle with Boko Haram

Nigeria’s army chief Tukur Buratai has recalled how close he came to death during an ambush by Boko Haram insurgents.

The Nation reports that Buratai remembers with sadness the attack that narly cost Nigeria its number one military General and led to the death of some gallant soldiers that fought to protect him.

“I was with them and my convoy was ambushed by Boko Haram. Instead of withdrawing back to Maiduguri, I said, ‘No! We are in this together, I can’t go back. We must all go together to clear the ambush.” ‘’So I advanced with them and that was how we cleared the ambush. If the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) does not turn back, who would turn and run from such an ambush? I advanced with the troops and it paid off.

“Unfortunately, we lost two soldiers; one of them was an officer. One other soldier, a Brigadier-General, got wounded in the attack.” On how far the war with Boko Haram has come in the last two years, Buratai said: ‘The situation before we came in.

“We came at a time when truly the challenge of the insurgency was very high. It was at its peak. There is no gainsaying that some progress had been made before we came in. But the progress that was made before we came in was being overtaken by the virtual resurgence of Boko Haram terrorist group.

“At the time we came, there were only four local governments that were not under the Boko Haram terrorist group’s control out of about 27 local governments in Borno. Same in Yobe state; two local governments were still under Boko Haram’s influence. That was the situation we met when we came in July 2015. “As at today, those two local governments in Yobe state have been reclaimed from Boko Haram. And in Borno, all the 23 LGAs that were under the influence and control of Boko Haram have been liberated and they’ve been effectively put under the control of the elected government. The areas that are remaining are just the peripheral, that lies along the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. And Chad and Niger borders as well. No single local government is under the control of Boko Haram. To me, this is a major achievement and source of fulfilment.

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