Fighters from the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) have killed Brigadier-General Dzarma Zirkusu, the commander of 28 Task Force Brigade, Chibok, together with a number of other soldiers.
The incident occurred while they were on their way to reinforce troops at Bungulwa village, near Askira Uba.
1st News reports that ISWAP is a splinter sect which split from Boko Haram in 2016. Since the recent mass surrender of Boko Haram fighters; ISWAP has now emerged as the leading terrorist group in Nigeria. The group had also been credited with killing long-time Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.
The attack on the Nigerian Army troops in Askira Uba, Mulai, Ngamdu; as well as Buniyadi in the North-East at the weekend came hours after top commanders of ISWAP were killed in military airstrikes. Reports indicate that scores of ISWAP commanders were eliminated and others injured on Friday. The terrorists, who came under sustained aerial bombardments from Nigerian AirForce fighter jets; were allegedly holding a meeting with their new leader, Sani Shuwaram, at Sabon Tumbun and Jibularam; in Marte Local Government Area in Borno State.
Consequently, the aerial bombardments disrupted the meeting and saw ISWAP lose scores of fighters. But the development had also seen the sect lusting for revenge.
Thereafter, ISWAP fighters had stormed some communities on gun trucks to avenge the death of their top commanders in the aerial assault. The terrorists were equally reported to have destroyed some telecommunication masts in their rampage, according to PRNigeria.
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Further, the raid on Askira Uba saw General Zirkusu killed in an ambush while leading troops on reinforcement operation. Some soldiers were also killed.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has confirmed the death of Zirkusu.
This was contained in a statement on Saturday, by its spokesman, General Onyema Nwachukwu. However, Nwachukwu stated that troops of Joint Task Force, North-East Operation HADIN KAI equally neutralized several ISWAP terrorist; notably during the recent encounter in Askira Uba.
“In the fierce encounter which is still raging as at the time of filling this report; troops supported by the Air Component of OPHK have destroyed five A – Jet, two A-29, two Dragon combat vehicles and nine Gun Trucks.
“Sadly, a gallant senior officer Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu and three soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice in a very rare diplay of gallantry as they provided reinforcement in a counter offensive against the terrorists, and successfully defended the location. The family of the senior officer and soldiers have been contacted.
“The Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya deeply commiserates with the families and relations of the fallen heroes. He has also directed that the troops continue in the ferocious counter offensive and hot pursuit to eliminate the remnant of the fleeing terrorists.”