It was such an emotional scene for family and friends at the burial of Lt.-Col Abu-Ali and 6 other soldiers killed by Boko Haram ambush.
The Commanding Officer of the 272 Special Task Force Task Battalion, Lt. Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali and six troops who were killed during a Boko Haram attack at Mallam Fatori on November 4, 2016, were given a national burial at the military cemetery, Abuja on Monday.
Family members, top politicians and military officers were in attendance alongside the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, as who described the death of the officers as a great loss.
The other killed military personnel comprising five Army personnel and a Naval seaman were Staff Sgt. Muazu Ibrahim, Sgt. Husseini Jafaru, Sgt. Okon Bassey, Cpl. Chukwu Simon, PTE Salishu Lawal, and Able Seaman Patrick Paul.
According to a Punch report, it took the Chief of Army Staff a lot of efforts and a visible struggle with emotions amidst tears, with cracking voice, to read the brief funeral oration of the fallen warriors.
He said that the soldiers, who were members of the 119 Task Force Battalion and the Armed Forces Special Forces, took the battle to the insurgents and recovered several territories from them.
According to him, “The brave, precise, professional and inspiring” troops recovered
Monguno, Baga, New Marte, Bama, Gwoza, Banki Junction, Gamboru Ngala, Yale, Yemteke, Bitam, Doronaira, Kagarwa, Ärrege, Abadam, and Mallam Fatori from the Boko Haram sect.
“In these battles, they rescued women, and children, fathers and mothers, the young and the old and restore peace and order to Nigerian citizens.
“At last on November 4, 2016, they paid the supreme sacrifice in the battle of Mallam Fatori. These men epitomise the best of our military. They exemplified the values of our nation and our military, with their loyalty, discipline, courage selfless service, respect, honour and dignity.
“They left behind wives, children, as well as parents and dependants. They fought for the unity of our nation; our brave and gallant compatriots, your families and comrades will miss you. The entire nation will miss you but be rest assured that your labour will never be in vain.
“Serkin Yarkin, the frontline general, you and your men have fought a good fight, you always told them to pray, stay alert, and stay alive. You will always be alive in our memories, we shall continue to pray for you, we shall continue to pray for you all, and we shall remain alert for you, for the cause you have laid your life for.
“Your loved ones will remain in our care and their welfare will be of utmost priority at all times. You have fought a good cause and we are rest assured that your souls rest in perfect peace with almighty in Paradise.”
President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, said that the gallantry and the dedication displayed by the deceased soldiers and their colleagues contributed to the restoration of peace and normalcy in the North-East.