Nigerian soldiers have made three futile attempts without being able to retake the town of Damboa in Borno State that was captured recently by members of the Islamist insurgent group, Boko Haram, two military sources have told SaharaReporters.
Over the last few days, Nigerian military officials had proclaimed that a contingent of Nigerian troops was heading to Damboa to wrest Damboa township from Islamist militants who seized it and planted their flags in different locations.
Our sources said the Nigerian Army had made three major attempts to retake the town from Boko Haram, but pulled back each time because many soldiers seemed afraid to engage the fierce firepower of fighters of the dreaded terrorist sect.
Former residents of the town complained that they had not been able to go into the town to bury dead relatives and friends killed after Boko Haram overran Damboa, murdering more than 100 people before hoisting their flags in the town.
Last week, the Nigerian Army released a statement pledging that troops would be sent to retake the seized town. A few days later, the army revealed that an Air Force helicopter on a training mission in the area had crashed.
One security source disclosed that a contingent of soldiers was sent to search for the helicopter in Bulabulin. “They found the helicopter and destroyed it,” said the source, adding that the helicopter had a strange red marking in its underbelly. He suggested that the aircraft was brought down by artillery fire. Two members of its crew were found alive and evacuated.