At least 30 soldiers were reportedly killed when Boko Haram insurgents attacked a military base in Zari, Borno state.
They were said to have stormed the area in trucks on Thursday, overrunning the military base and sacking the entire village.
Twenty soldiers were injured in the incident, sources told Daily Trust.
The soldiers were said to have withdrawn following the heavy assault while the insurgents carted away “weapons abandoned by fleeing troops”.
A fighter jet deployed to the area was said to have repelled the attack, saving the situation.
“We lost many soldiers in the duel and many of them are still missing because they are yet to return to the Damasak base,” a military source was quoted as saying. “We equally lost weapons to the attackers.”
The Nigerian army had confirmed the encounter with the insurgents in a statement on Friday but was, however, silent on the casualty suffered by the troops.
Reacting to TheCable’s enquiry on Sunday, Chukwu said the insurgents never attacked soldiers.
“Look for my release on Friday morning you will see the report. Point of correction, Boko Haram did not come to attack our soldiers. Soldiers were the one…” he said via a text message.
The alleged assault on the troops is coming on the heel of the ambush on a group of soldiers from 133 special force battalion about two weeks ago between Yobe and Adamawa border.