Abuja — Three jet fighters of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) at the weekend pounded terrorist positions in Yuwe "C" area of Borno State, killing scores of insurgents.
But in a fierce encounter with insurgents, three soldiers were killed while five were missing when Boko Haram fighters ambushed troops around Maiduguri/Monguno Road.
Though eight soldiers were said to have been killed in the clash, the Nigerian Army said it lost three soldiers while eight were injured.
An update on the ongoing war against insurgency provided by NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the air strikes were conducted in continuation of Operation Green Sweep 3.
It stated: "Nigerian Air Force (NAF) attack aircraft of the Air Task Force (ATF), Operation Lafiya Dole have neutralised scores of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) in air strikes conducted yesterday, at Yuwe 'C' in Borno State.
"The air raid was executed in continuation of Operation Green Sweep 3 after credible Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports, which were also corroborated by series of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, established that the settlement was being used as a hideout for the BHTs."
It said following the intelligence report, the ATF detailed two Alpha Jets and an L-39ZA aircraft to attack the target area, explaining that as the aircraft arrived overhead the target area, several BHTs were seen attempting to flee while many others concealed themselves in the structures and dense vegetation of the area.
"The jets took turns attacking the target, scoring crucial hits on the hideout leading to the neutralisation of several BHT fighters," the Air force said.
Meanwhile, three soldiers were killed when insurgents ambushed a military convoy along Maiduguri/Monguno Highway. Security sources said five army vehicles were carted away.
Reports said the incident happened at Gasarwa village, some distance to Gajiram in Nganzai LGA of Borno State at about noon on Saturday.
"They were ambushed around the Gasarwa general area on Gajiram-Monguno road. The troops were from Monguno heading to Maiduguri before the incident happened. So far, eight soldiers have been confirmed dead and five are missing.
"The insurgents engaged the troops with Rocket-Propelled Grenades and small arms. Before the arrival of our troops from Monguno and the air support, the Boko Haram members had withdrawn with lots of weapons. They burned three gun trucks belonging to the army," a security source said.
An army statement signed by Director Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, said troops attached to Super Camp Monguno dealt a devastating blow to the insurgents, killing many of them.
It said:"Troops of Sector 3, Operation Lafiya Dole attached to Super Camp Monguno on Friday while on patrol dealt a devastating blow on Boko Haram terrorists along Monguno-Mairari-Gajiram axis.
"The patrol team came in contact with the terrorists and engaged them with heavy volume of fire that neutralised countless number while a few escaped with gunshot wounds going by blood trails in the general area.
"The gallant troops also recovered some weapons and equipment from the terrorists. Sadly, during the encounter three of our gallant soldiers paid the supreme price while eight other soldiers sustained injuries."
It said the bodies of the fallen heroes and those that sustained injuries had been evacuated with the wounded being treated and were in stable condition.
"The highly motivated troops have continued combing the general area with a view to clearing remnants of hiding terrorists," it stated further, adding: "The Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai; along with some principal staff officers from the Army Headquarters, Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole and other commanders, have visited the troops and those wounded in action."