The Boko Haram have killed more Nigerian soldiers, making a mockery of President Muhammadu Buhari's vow to crush the jihadists.
Reports indicate the troops suffered three fatalities following an attack on their base in northeast Borno State near Lake Chad late Tuesday.
The jihadists from Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) reportedly invaded the Cross-Kauwa military base driving in several trucks.
"We lost three soldiers in the fight," AFP quoted a military officer who asked not to be named.
"The soldiers fought the terrorists but were overpowered and had to withdraw from the base," he added.
Abandon the base
A Cross-Kauwa resident was quoted saying the Islamists had trucks fitted with anti-aircraft guns.
"The insurgents fought the soldiers for three hours and forced them to abandon the base," said the resident who wanted to be identified only by his first name, Bukar, for fear of reprisals.
The loss comes barely seven days after the killing of dozens of soldiers by the Boko Haram, which prompted President Buhari to visit the war front on Wednesday.
The president ordered the military to eliminate all threats of Boko Haram and declared the war against terrorism as “a must win’’.
He gave the order while opening the 2018 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference after visiting some of the wounded soldiers in hospitals in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
“It is a must win war. I want to encourage our troops not to be distracted by speculations but remain focused and committed to the task of eliminating Boko Haram from the surface of the earth.’’
He assured the military that he would continue to address their manpower development and equipment supply needs, promising that their welfare and entitlements would also be improved.
The president commended the sacrifices of the military in safeguarding the peace, security and territorial integrity of the country.
President Buhari, who also addressed the Army at the Maimalari Barrack, headquarters of Operation Lafiya-Dole, said he shared in the agony of loss of gallant soldiers.
“I have come to pay homage to the gallant soldiers lost by the nation and to console the injured ones in recent terrorist attacks.
“I urge you to remain focused and win the war,’’ the President said.
He said: “As we approach the 2019 General Election, I want to urge all members of the Armed Forces to live up to their responsibilities and remain non-partisan.