Nigeria’s Most Gallant Soldier Killed By Boko Haram

By Ikenga Chronicles November 5, 2016

In a bid to save the lives of 180 million Nigerians under the terror and clutches of Boko Haram, one of Nigeria’s most gallant army officers once led a troop to recover Baga, a town that was once taken over by insurgents. But at what price?Well, Commanding Officer (CO) of 272 Task Force Tank Battalion, Lt-Col. Muhammad Abu Ali, and four soldiers had to sacrifice their lives.

The battle, which was occasioned by an attack on 119 Battalion located in Northern Borno State, also resulted in the killing of 14 suspected insurgents. It was really a sad day for the Nigerian Army as Col Abu Ali was riddled with bullets despite Buhari and his handlers having claimed to have technically defeated Boko Haram.

Muhammed Abu-Ali, a lieutenant colonel, died in an ambush laid for his troops by the terrorist Boko Haram sect, while fourteen Boko Haram insurgents and four other soldiers died in the attack, the army said.

Abu Ali, commanding officer of 272 Tank Battalion, is reputed as the army’s bravest commander and fighter in Nigeria’s ongoing anti-terrorism war. Last year, he bagged accelerated promotion for his gallantry and efficiency on the battlefield.

Highly-placed military officials with knowledge of the battle that claimed the officer and his colleagues informed this newspaper of the development. One of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the attack occurred at Mallam Fatori, a major Boko Haram stronghold on the northernmost tip of Borno State, on Friday evening. The source said Abu-Ali was hit by several bullets as he tried to reinforce troops to repel an ongoing attack in the town. Another source claimed that the death of Abu Ali might be connected to the deadly Boko Haram field commanders that were swapped in exchange for 21 Chibok Girls.

A few hours earlier, Boko Haram launched a sustained attack on the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole. As the battled raged,  Ali recognised an immediate need for reinforcement. But his team was met by another group of terrorists while making its way back to the battlefront. It was learnt that the timing of the attack makes it highly probable that an insider might have provided Boko Haram with intelligence on troops movement.

The source said the Army leadership on Thursday morning withdrew one officer and 49 combatants from Mallam Fatori. The terrorists struck shortly after the troops withdrew.

“This indicates that the terrorists possibly had advance information of the reduction in the number of troops on the frontline around there,” the source said.

The spokesman of the Nigeria Army, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, who confirmed the incident said four other soldiers also sustained injury during the fight.

On September 9, 2015, Abu-Ali was granted accelerated promotion by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, for his “courage, bravery and exceptional performance.” An expert in handling armour tanks, Abu-Ali’s men dubbed him the ‘panacea of Boko Haram’ due to his unmatched bravery in uprooting terrorists.

The Army spokesman, Sani Usman, a colonel, described him as “hero of our time” during the burial ceremony which took place in Borno State.

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