The army, however, denied it suffered any casualties.
“Yes, there was an attack on our troops two days ago by Boko Haram terrorists in Kannama town. It was, however, repelled.
Our soldiers are in hot pursuit of the fleeing insurgents,” said Col. Kayode Ogunsanya, spokesman of 3 Division, Nigerian Army, in Damaturu, the state capital, yesterday.
But a credible top security source told The Guardian that about five soldiers were found dead and evacuated to Maiduguri, adding that about 30 others were still missing.
An eyewitness, Bukar, said the attackers arrived in seven Toyota Hilux vans. “We thought they were soldiers because everything about them was like soldiers, their dressing, their vehicles, everything.
They passed through the town but did not touch anybody. They went straight to the military base. Then we started hearing heavy gunshots,” he said.
Meanwhile, Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, at the weekend, ordered council chairmen and workers to return to liberated communities and restore civil authority.
He gave the directive while swearing in 27 local government caretaker chairmen at Government House, Maiduguri, noting he had instructed the Local Government Service Commission to put in place mechanisms to punish any worker who flouted the order.
The military’s Operation Lafiya Dole liberated over a dozen council areas including Ngala, a border community with Cameroon between 2014 and 2016.
Notwithstanding, all is not clear in some local government areas, like Marte, Abadam, Guzamala, Kala/Balge, Bama and Gwoza East.
The persisting atmosphere of caution over the entire state might have necessitated the need to nudge the officials into compliance.
“You should relocate to respective liberated communities, to ensure that civil authority is restored. The immediate relocation and return must be done alongside your workers,” said Shettima.
He also warned: “It is not yet time for politicking. Any government official that wants to embark on politicking should resign, because we are going on a massive provision of dividends of democracy to the people in the first six months of 2018.”
He told the officials: “You should move to your local government headquarters and swear in your councilors, with the exception of the chairmen of Marte and Abadam, whose communities are yet to be assessed for relocation.”