The Nigerian government has finally confirmed that elite soldiers guarding the president were ambushed and many of them were killed.
The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, said the soldiers of the Presidential Guards Brigade “were ambushed and decimated,” an indication of the worsening security situation in the country.
Mr Monguno addressed journalists in Abuja Thursday after the National Security Council meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“A few days ago, troops of the guards brigade were ambushed and decimated.
“Had there been a collective effort by way of just snippets of information we might have averted that incident, that is not to say that the responsibility is for those outside the security domain. It’s a collective responsibility,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the attack on the members of the guards’ brigade, a unit of the Nigerian Army, leading to the death of eight soldiers including two officers.
At least four other soldiers were injured in the attack which occured Friday night in Bwari Area Council of Abuja.
The Kogi State Government on Tuesday confirmed that the two officers that died in the attack were from the state.
However, both the army and the federal government kept mum on the attack until Thursday’s statement by the NSA.
The attack on the guards brigade, whose duty is to protect the president, comes a few weeks after terrorists launched a similar attack on a presidential convoy in Dutsinma, Katsina State.
On the same day, terrorists invaded the Kuje prison in Abuja and freed hundreds of inmates, including Boko Haram suspects.
Friday’s attack also occurred two days before terrorists released a video showing them manhandling persons kidnapped from the Abuja-Kaduna train.
One of the terrorists in the video threatened that his group would abduct President Buhari, Kaduna State Governor Nasiru El-Rufai and other prominent Nigerians and destabilise the country if their demands were not met.
The terrorists also threatened to kill and sell some of the remaining Abuja-Kaduna train passengers in their custody.
“This is our message to the government of Nigeria and just as you have seen these people here, by God’s grace, you will see your leaders; your senators and governors will come before us. These ones you are seeing here, we will keep some as our slaves and sell them off just as our Imam told you in the past.
“Just like the Chibok girls that were sold off, we will equally sell these ones as slaves. If you don’t adhere to our demands, we will kill the ones we need to kill and sell the remaining. By God’s grace, El-Rufai, Buhari, we will bring you here,” the terrorist said in the video.
Until recently, the FCT had enjoyed relative peace, compared to some neighbouring states such as Niger and Kaduna where terrorists, locally called bandits, operate almost on daily basis.
Despite the deteriorating security situation, the Buhari government has repeatedly insisted that security has improved under the president.