• Defence minister mourns
From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Colleagues and troops who once worked with Mohammed Abu-Ali, have recalled how the lieutenant colonel narrowly escaped Boko Haram fire in previous operation in Borno.
This came as the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali said the death of the officer was a “tragic and unfortunate development in the theatre of operations.”
The army had earlier described him as a gallant officer who fought to liberate Gamboru-Ngala, Nigeria border town where he was given accelerated promotion from the rank of Major to a lieutenant Colonel.
But colleagues and soldiers said he had led more operations to liberate communities in Adamawa and Borno states previously captured by Boko Haram. The colleagues in a message from the battlefields entitled: “From the foot soldiers in the frontline,” said: “You (Abu-Ali) started from Yola axis which you cleared and liberated all the communities under Boko Haram terrorists where you later moved to Borno to continue when some local governments were under the control of BHT less (except) Konduga and Damboa. You led the operation to capture Monguno and Baga. You were brought to us in Konduga when we failed to move forward after several attempts and we were pushed back by BHT on that axis. When you arrived, everything changed. You led us through Yale (Konduga Local Government) to capture Bama, Banki Juncltion, Pulka and Gwoza. I remember when BHT lowered and fire 105mm pack hewitzer on your tank, used VBIED to charge through your tank during the battle to capture Gwoza.”
They described the slain officer as a source of inspiration, confidence builder and game changer, calling on the army authority in the country to immotalise him for his immense contributions.