Top Army personnel, Muhammad Abu Ali, a lieutenant colonel was killed by dreaded Boko Haram terrorists after an encounter with the insurgents on Friday.
On Friday, at about 10.00pm suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked a 119 Battalion Nigerian Army location at Mallam Fatori, northern Borno State. The troops fought gallantly and repelled the attack, killing 14 Boko Haram terrorists.
Unfortunately, they lost an officer and 4 soldiers, while 4 other soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries during the encounter. One of those killed in action, was Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Abu Ali, the Commanding Officer of 272 Task Force Tank Battalion.
The delegation to his burial is to be led by the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, to represent the president at the funeral today.
Other members of the delegation include the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello and the Minister of State Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari.
In a condolence message, Buhari said that the sacrifices of fallen officers and men in the war against terrorism in Nigeria will never be in vain.
President Buhari said the memories of the affected officers would be “eternally etched in the hearts and minds of fellow citizens for whose sake they laid down their lives.”
The President, who described late Ali as one of Nigeria’s finest and bravest soldiers in recent history, said he was rudely shocked by the news of the officer’s death along with other gallant soldiers during an encounter with the Boko Haram bandits in Borno.
“A courageous commander does not only give orders, but also joins his men to fight the battle, no matter the risks or the obvious danger. Ali was an extraordinary officer who inspired respect and adoration among those he commanded.
“One of the greatest attributes of a war hero is the ability to help your troops overcome fear in the face of danger,” he added.
President Buhari stated that the late Colonel and his other fallen colleagues had brought glory to the army and the country for laying down their lives for the sake of others.
In his condolence message to the families of the victims and the Nigerian Army, the President also noted that their heroic sacrifices were “so immeasurable that no words can do justice to their patriotism and remarkable courage.”
President Buhari, who personally called late Col. Ali’s father, Brig.-Gen. Abu Ali (Ryder) to console the family, reassured them that his death and those of his colleagues in battle would never be in vain.
“He was a gallant soldier, never to be forgotten. He has brought a good name to the family,’’ the President said.
The President called on members of the armed forces not to let the tragic incident to dampen their morale and spirit, adding that “under no circumstances should the Boko Haram terrorists be allowed to destroy the will of our troops.
“Evil should not be given any chance to defeat good and humanity. Members of our armed forces should remain formidably united in the war against terrorism.’’
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, Lieutenant General TY Buratai at Gamboru Ngala on 9th September 2015 during an operational visit.