Maiduguri - The Nigerian Army said on Wednesday that a sizeable number of the 39 soldiers declared missing after last week suspected Boko Haram insurgents’ attack in the border town of Gashigar in Borno, had returned.
Major-General Lucky Irabor, the Theater Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, stated this while briefing newsmen in Maiduguri.
"It is true that about 39 soldiers were declared missing.
"I want to inform you that a sizeable number of our soldiers had returned to base," Irabor said.
He, however, admitted that a few soldiers were yet to be found.
"I think it is only a handful that have not been found," Irabor said declining to state their exact number.
He said that the military was engaged in an ongoing operation to uproot the terrorists from the area.
"Operations are ongoing in the area.
"I think that we will give you the details in due course," Irabor said.
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He also said that the military was focused on rescuing the remaining Chibok girls from the Boko Haram terrorists in spite of the release of the 21 girls by the insurgents.
"We have a task before us that anyone held by the Boko Haram terrorists must be rescued.
"We will do everything possible to rescue them," Irabor said.
He said that the military had recorded progress in its quest to apprehend collaborators of the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East.
"So far, we have arrested 30 suspects in connection with the crime of collaborating with the terrorists.
"We have four soldiers, two policemen, vigilantes and other civilians," Irabor said.
He said that the suspects were under going interrogation to determine their level of involvement in the crime.
Irabor, however, declined to give their identifies.
"For some reasons we can not give out their names for now.
"But we will do that at the end of the investigation," he said.