World Bulletin / News Desk
The Nigerian army over the weekend pounded Boko Haram hideouts in the Sambisa Forest, killing scores of rebels.
"We killed them in their hundreds," an army official told Anadolu Agency on Monday, requesting anonymity for not being authorized to speak to the media.
"At least 35 were captured having been critically injured in the attacks on Sambisa Forest and its surroundings," he said.
The Sambisa Forest Reserve, identified as a major hideout for Boko Haram insurgents, is a long stretch of forest located south of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.
The official said the military operation had begun on Friday and ran into Saturday.
"There were ground troops armed to the teeth, and you had the Air Force Alpha Jet bombing and smoking them out," he said.
According to the official, the army sustained causalities due to what he described as "operational misunderstandings" between ground troops and the air force pilot.
He said the military aircraft had withdrawn midway into the operation because it had run out of ordnance, while ground troops had continued to advance into the forest, where "we were clearly outnumbered."
"The pilot said he radioed the ground troops to withdraw when it was running out of bombs, but the message probably didn't come through," the official added.
"At the end of the operation, we couldn't account for 20 soldiers two days after the operation," he said.
The incident is said to have caused considerable consternation in Borno's Bama barracks, the operational headquarters of soldiers drawn from the Nigerian army's 103rd Battalion.
Defense spokesman Chris Olukolade confirmed the attack on Sambisa Forest and the casualties sustained by the insurgents.
"The operations in Sambisa Forest over the weekend resulted, as usual, in the death of numerous terrorists who clearly are succumbing to the superiority of the troops," he told AA. "Arrests were also made."
But Olukolade denied that any soldiers had been lost.
"We did not lose any soldier," he said.
"Those you said were missing from the operations have since returned to base and the operations continue."Last Mod: 14 Nisan 2014, 11:24