Suspected members of the Boko Haram sect on Monday laid an ambush between Sari and Gudumbali areas of Borno State, killing another Lieutenant Colonel, Otos Umusu, and his unnamed security aide while heading to their base in Baga.
Our correspondent learnt that Umusu, who was the Commanding Officer of the 118 Task Force Battalion, Operation Lafiya Dole, in Borno, and his aide were killed by an Improvised Explosive Device planted on the road.
It was gathered that the commander and his men were coming from Maiduguri and returning to their location in Baga when the explosion occurred.
Boko Haram insurgents had on November 4, 2016 killed Lt.-Col. Abu Ali, the Commanding Officer of 272 Task Force Battalion and four soldiers in an attack in the Mallam Fatori area of Borno State.
When contacted, Army spokesperson, Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East, Colonel Mustapha Anka, said the incident did not happen in his jurisdiction.
A top military source at the Nigerian Army headquarters, Abuja, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, confirmed the incident to our correspondent.
He said, “The Theatre Command will issue a statement on the incident. But unfortunately, it is true. We are fighting a war and these terrorists are not people that came from the moon. They live among us. That is why the military is careful about information.
“The family members of the Lt.-Col. should not get to hear the death of their breadwinner on the social media. Everyone should allow the military to issue a statement about this.”
A Facebook user, Funsho Yusuf, wrote that he was a friend of the late Lt.-Col., adding that the deceased was promoted in 2015.
He said, “I have known Lt.-Col. Otos Umusu since the age of 11. He was a courageous and highly resolute man. We were good friends for over 25 years. Otos, as he was fondly called, was responsible for channeling supplies to our troops in the frontlines for a few years.
“He was promoted last year and became a commanding officer of one of the units combating insurgency in the North-East. I interacted with Otos two nights ago till around 3am.
“I remembered him throwing a jibe at me for not visiting his more volatile location in Madagali during my recent tour of the North-East. He also raised his observation on the fight against insurgency being intensified in the media rather than on the ground. I looked into his eyes with sympathy as I appreciated his selfless sacrifice and that of those of our other troops who are fighting with limited resources. To be honest, I usually prayed in my heart that we saw again, whenever I parted ways with anyone serving in North-East Nigeria.
“I was heartbroken to hear about your passing this morning. You are a hero and should never be forgotten. I pray that God almighty would give your family the fortitude to bear your loss. You shall certainly rest in peace, my Colonel.”