Abuja and Lokoja — Nigerian soldiers ready to leave for war-torn Mali for peace mission were yesterday fatally attacked by unknown men in the ever volatile Kogi State central area.
The soldiers were ambushed along the Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road in a village called Abobo in Okehi local government area.
Two soldiers were felled while five others sustained serious injuries. The soldiers are part of the contingent heading for Kaduna for onward airlift to Mali where Nigerian troops are currently deployed to checkmate rebels threatening to take over the country.
The Director Army Public Relations Major General Mobolaji Koleoso said an explosive device was deployed near the road and was detonated while the soldiers' vehicles were close to it.
"It was a distant explosion. The soldiers were the target because many vehicles passed the area before them.
"The terrorists are the main suspects because they are the only group that use IEDs in attacks," Koleoso explained.
It was gathered that the soldiers were being conveyed in convoy of two luxury buses from military formations in the southern part of the country to Kaduna when they were attacked at about 6:00am.
The Commandant Army Record Lokoja, Alphonsus Chuckwu confirmed that two soldiers were killed while five others sustained injuries.
Briefing journalists on the attack, the Kogi State Police Commissioner, Muhammed Katsina said it was a coordinated attack by hoodlums using high capacity remote controlled improvised explosive devices (IED) and Ak 47 raffles.
He said he could not give details about casualties as investigations were still on.
He said the police were able to recover a high calibre undetonated IED as well as weapons at the scene of the incident.
He stated that the soldiers had been evacuated to a military barrack in Lokoja and the area condoned off, saying normalcy had been restored in the area.
He said no one was arrested in connection with the incident.