Nigerian Army’s most gallant commander, dies in Boko Haram ambush
The Commanding Officer, 272 battallion, Colonel Abu Ali, and four of his soldiers were killed while four soldiers sustained gunshot injuries in a surprise Boko Haram attack on their location in Borno State.
In a statement on Saturday, the Theatre Command Centre of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri said Ali, nicknamed Sarkin Yaki [Chief Warrior], was the Commanding Officer, 272 Task Force Battalion at Mallam Fatori in Northern Borno State.
He died in confrontation with suspected Boko Haram terrorists who attacked 119 Battalion, Nigerian Army location at Mallam Fatori on Friday in a failed attempt to capture the town.
Four other soldiers also died in the attack.
The Thetre Command Centre said: “He served the nation with unwavering commitment and dedication, paying the ultimate price so that millions can sleep on their beds in peace.
“We are deeply pained at the loss of one so selfless and committed to routing the misguided terrorists from the North of the country.”
Ali, a recipient of the Chief of Army Staff Award for exceptional bravery and excellence, led the army units that recovered Gamboru-Ngala, Baga and several communities from the terrorists.
The centre said that it was deeply pained by the demise of Ali, who served as “the face of the campaign against Boko Haram which embodied commitment, loyalty, service and hope for a better, peaceful and prosperous nation”.
The statement added that the deceased was “a source of inspiration to us and millions of Nigerians praying for the speedy end of the insurgency.
“At this point we pray for his family and the Nigerian Army that God gives them the fortitude to bear the loss.
“Ali and others who have lost their lives in the ongoing campaign will never be forgotten.”
“It will be recalled that because of the late senior officer’s exceptional bravery and gallantry, he was given an accelerated promotion from the rank of major to lieutenant colonel and was decorated by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, at Gamboru Ngala, on September 9, 2015 during an operational visit.”
Usman said that the troops had recovered a General Purpose Machine Gun, seven AK-47 rifles and a large quantity of ammunition from the insurgents, while continuing with a mopping up operation in the area.