The Nigerian Army has said its soldiers have foiled attempts by the terrorist group Boko Haram to storm and attack Dikwa, a town in Borno State.
Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima, Director of Army Public Relations, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in reaction to a reported attack on a United Nations’ base in Dikwa.
The UN in a statement signed by Edward Kallon, its Humanitarian Coordinator, on Tuesday said Boko Haram insurgents had “directly targeted” aid facilities in an attack on Dikwa on Monday.
“The attack started last night and, as information is still coming through, I am outraged to hear the premises of several aid agencies and a hospital were reportedly set ablaze or sustained damage.
“This violent attack will affect the support provided to nearly 100,000 people who are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance and protection,” Kallon said in the statement.
But while admitting that Boko Haram attempted to storm the town, the army, however, debunked reports that the insurgents attacked the UN base.
According to the army, troops of 81 Task Force Battalion with reinforcement from other formations air support of Air Task Force Operation Lafiya Dole overpowered the insurgents, who came in a horde of gun trucks and motorcycles.
It said the insurgents attempted to enter Dikwa through Marte, another town in Borno State, to target the food palliatives brought for residents of the town recently.
The statement read: “The troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE have decisively routed elements of Boko Haram Terrorists and their Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) counterpart who attempted to infiltrate and attack Dikwa town in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State.
“The terrorist groups who stormed the town in an unconfirmed number of gun trucks and motorcycles were visited with heavy bombardment and overwhelming firepower by troops of 81 Task Force Battalion with reinforcement from other formations of the Nigerian Army and aided by air support of Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE.
“The terrorists attempted to invade the town to loot food items and other logistics having got wind of the recent food distribution to residents of the town by the state governor, Professor Babagana Zulum.
“They came in their droves through the Marte axis but could not gain access to the town due to the combat readiness of troops who were positioned there.
“The terrorists subsequently lost initiative as they were cut off completely following the recent successful recapture of Marte town by the gallant troops.
“In desperation and to scare off residents from returning to their homes, they planted series of landmines on the roads which were also detected and successfully detonated by troops.”
The army debunked reports of an attack on the UN base, describing it as “unsubstantiated”.
“Those false and sensational reports are clearly aimed at stirring up tension in the region and diminishing the glaring efforts and sacrifices of the Nigerian military in the fight against insurgency,” the statement added.