The Public Relations Officer of the 7th Infantry Division of the Nigerian Army, Maiduguri, Col. Timothy Antigha, said in an electronic mail on Thursday that the insurgents were killed by soldiers while attempting to attack the 195 Battalion of the Nigerian Army at Damboa, Borno State.
Also, the United States on Thursday said that it would not take any unilateral action against Boko Haram, without consulting the Federal Government.
Antigha said that the insurgents also suffered heavy losses in terms of materials, arms and ammunition aside from the death of 38 of the attackers.
He said that the insurgents made two attempts to attack the army formation but were overpowered by the troops.
Antigha also said that a soldier lost his life in the confrontation with the insurgents.
He said, “Boko Haram terrorists in the North Eastern part of the country have suffered heavy losses in men and equipment following an attempt by the terrorists to attack 195 Battalion location twice in Damboa, Borno State.
“The attacks, which occurred in the early hours of Thursday, January 9, 2014, led to the killing of about 38 members of the terrorists’ group while three vehicles, assorted types of weapons and ammunition for Browning Machine Gun, Light Machine Gun, General Purpose Machine Gun and AK 47 were also captured. However, one soldier of the Battalion was killed in action.
“One of the captured vehicles; a Toyota Sienna vehicle was laden with Improvised Explosive Devices.”
The United States Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, in an interview with journalists in Abuja said that the US would consult the government and people of Nigeria before embarking on any counter-terrorism strategies, including deployment of drones.
During the interview, the ambassador was asked whether the tagging of Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organisation would make the US deploy drones in some parts of Nigeria, as it did in Yemen and Pakistan, among others.
The US had deployed drones in such countries to fight terrorist groups such as Al-Queda.
Boko Haram is said to be an affiliate of Al-Queda.
Explaining the US’ position, the ambassador said, “We have a partnership with your government on counter-terrorism. Anything we will do, will be as a result of collaboration and coordination with your government.
“The United States Government will not take any unilateral counter-terrorism action. Any counter-terrorism action we take will be in partnership with your government and the people of Nigeria.”
Entwistle said that the US was determined to ensure that Nigeria succeeded in its war against terrorism.
He noted that counter-terrorism involved both the armed forces and economic elements.
According to him, it is very important that security forces in any country fighting terrorism maintain the rights of the population.
Entwistle said, “The United States wants to see Nigeria win its war on terrorism. We are ready to help in any way.”
He said the US had a lot of experience in its battle against terrorism.
“My country, as you know, has a lot of experience in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism. Quite frankly, sometimes, it has gone well. Sometimes, it has not gone well,” he said.
He said as part of the partnership between Nigeria and the US, a conference on counter-terrorism would take place next week in Nigeria.