This is the story of how 100 Nigerian soldiers were killed by Boko Haram terrorists in Metele, Borno State.
On Monday, November 19, 2018, members of terrorist sect Boko Haram, stormed a military base in Metele village, Guzamala local government area of Borno State and made for every soldier on the premises.
“The attack came at about 6 pm on Monday evening”, one soldier who managed to escape the onslaught from the terrorists, told Premium Times. "When the soldier on top of the observation post alerted that a large number of Boko Haram fighters were advancing, we all got alarmed as we took cover and waited within the base in Metele".
The soldier said the terrorists levelled the military base in minutes.
“The fight did not last for more than 45 minutes, but it was bloody because the Boko Haram fighters had more armament advantage than the soldiers.
“When we realised the fight would be against us, we decided to retreat from the camp, but it was rather too late. The camp was surrounded with barbed wire, and the enemy fire was coming from the direction of the entrance. We were surrounded.
“One of the drivers of the gun trucks decided to push through the barbed wire so that other vehicles could follow and escape, but the truck got stuck, that was how many of our soldiers in other vehicles and those on foot were massacred.
“Those that managed to escape with injuries made it on foot through Cross-Kauwa to Monguno where they boarded commercial vehicles, some even sat in the booth of the Golf cars to get to Maiduguri.
“Boko Haram made away with about seven gun trucks of the Nigeria army”.
"The insurgents took us unawares"
Another unnamed soldier told Reuters that “the insurgents took us unawares. The base was burned with arms and we lost about 100 soldiers. It is a huge loss."
Other sources told Reuters that many troops are still missing. One soldier disclosed that more troops were killed on Tuesday when an attempt to recover bodies from the initial attack was ambushed.
"We all flew because we didn't know where the bullets were coming from," Reuters quotes the soldier as saying. "They killed some of us who went to evacuate the bodies of the killed soldiers.
"We left our amour, tanks and weapons. They were all there. The village is still under their control."
How Boko Haram captured the military base
AFP’s account of events is just as chilling.
"Our troops were completely routed and the terrorists captured the base after heavy fighting," one senior army officer told AFP, adding that the base commander and three officers were among the dead.
A local vigilante told AFP that the Boko Haram terrorists arrived the army base on around 20 trucks and army air support did not arrive until after they had "invaded the base and looted the weapons".
The same day, Boko Haram also launched a pre-dawn attack on a base in the town of Gajiram, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, AFP reports.
Fighting here lasted several hours as well.
Senate suspends plenary to honour dead soldiers
The Senate suspended plenary on Thursday, November 22, 2018, in honour of the fallen Metele soldiers and resolved to send a delegation to the Northeast.
Lawmakers also called for better support for fighting forces.
There have been reports of soldiers being deployed to fight terrorists with inferior weapons.
A soldier laments lack of resources to fight Boko Haram
A soldier who confided in Premium Times said the morale of the fighting troops is currently at an all time low.
“We have suddenly lost our spirit of launching attacks because of lack of resources to prosecute the battle. Many of us are ready to do our best, but there has been no requisite support from those sending us out there.
“As I am talking to you now, we have about 70 corpses of soldiers littering the battleground in Metele and when we went to evacuate them on Monday, the Boko Haram gunmen came out in large numbers from all angles – so we had to abandon the corpses after just picking five of them. We left most of the corpses there as I am talking to you now.
“Our morale has been dampened so badly – not only because we are not given our due allowances; but for the fact that we have been outgunned by the Boko Haram.
“The situation has gone so bad that it has gotten to a stage that soldiers would be rushing to pack up their camps and flee upon hearing the news that Boko Haram fighters are advancing", he said.
On August 12, a group of soldiers stationed at the Maiduguri International Airport protested their redeployment to the frontlines without sophisticated weapons.
The soldiers insisted that the redeployment would leave them at the mercy of the terrorists because the terrorists were better armed.
The military top brass refuted the account of the soldiers and all the soldiers who protested were court-martialed.
The army is yet to issue a statement on the latest attack on its base.
Buhari is yet to say a word
Nigeria has been waging a war against Boko Haram since 2009. The terrorist sect intends to establish a hard-line Islamic caliphate in Northeast Nigeria.
Boko Haram has killed more than 50,000 people and has displaced millions since the commencement of its insurgency against the State.
Commander-in-Chief President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to issue a statement on the latest killings of soldiers by the Jihadists.
The Buhari administration often claims to have technically defeated and sufficiently degraded Boko Haram as a fighting force, but the terrorist sect is still capable of mounting soft target attacks, abducting school kids and overrunning military bases.