ABUJA/Nigeria: The Nigerian Army has expressed regret over a statement it issued following the ambush and abduction of some oil workers in Borno State by Boko Haram terrorists.
This comes four days after the ambush and a day after Boko Haram released a video of three of the abducted member of the oil exploration team.
A day after the incident, the Army had said the oil workers had been rescued.
However, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, said the initial statement was regrettable.
He disclosed this in a fresh statement on Sunday, which revealed that 21 more bodies of those ambushed had been recovered.
Describing the ambush as “as unfortunate and highly regrettable”, Usman said his initial statement that all the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation workers abducted in the ambush had been rescued was wrong.
“Most regrettable also is my earlier release on the said incident about the rescue of all NNPC Staff. The error in the statement was not deliberate,” he said.
He assured Nigerians that the Army “in this present dispensation is reputed for timely dissemination of information on activities of our troops in all theatre of operations”.
He added, “We have strived to keep the public informed on our activities with no intention of distorting any fact.
“Our troops have doubled efforts in the pursuit of the Boko Haram terrorists while search and rescue are still ongoing to secure the safe return of the remaining civilians.”
While reassuring Nigerians of its commitment to tackling the terrorists, the Nigerian Army condoled with the families of all that lost their loved ones in the ambush.
For those still missing, it said search and rescue efforts are ongoing, adding, “We are counting on the goodwill and support of the populace in volunteering valuable information that could help in the search and rescue operation.”
On the renewed attacks by the terrorists, it said, “What the remnants of the Boko Haram are doing is pure criminal activities of kidnapping to gain funds. This has been noted and will be jointly addressed in conjunction with other Security Services.”