The Nigerian Army says three officers and 15 soldiers are missing in action following the showdown with Boko Haram insurgents in northern Borno State.
Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor, disclosed this on Friday to journalists in Maiduguri, the state capital.
He said that a search party deployed to the area has already established contact with six soldiers and four members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF).
Commanding Officer of the Operation is among those still missing in action, as well as unspecified number of members of the civilian JTF.
According to the Commander, the soldiers disappeared after engaging the bandits in what appears to be a reinforcement mission for their dislodged collaborators in a town called “Gongon”.
The Army had earlier said that a number of its troops were missing after they ran into an ambush by the dreaded terrorists.
The Army explained that the attack occurred while the troops were returning to their defensive locations after operations to clear remnants of the insurgents at Gongon and environs.
The operation led to destruction of the terrorists’ makeshift camps and recovery of various weapons including an anti-aircraft gun, an armored personnel carrier, and motorcycles used by the terrorists.