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The kidnap of oil workers that resulted in the death of nine soldiers also led to the death of at least 18 other people including some of the kidnap victims, PREMIUM TIMES can exclusively report.

The victims, who included scientists, engineers and some personnel of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) were ambushed near Jibi village in Gubio Local Government Area on Tuesday while on an oil exploration mission in Lake Chad.

The NNPC, which is directly responsible for the oil exploration, had said 10 people were part of the team, but that the oil workers were mainly staff of the Geology department of the University of Maiduguri (Unimaid) to whom part of the oil exploration was subcontracted.

After their kidnap on Tuesday, the Nigerian Army, alongside members of the Civilian-JTF, launched a rescue mission.

The Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, a brigadier general, in a statement announced the rescue of all the NNPC staff, saying nine soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice in the process.

“So far, they (troops) have rescued all the NNPC staff and recovered the corpses of the officer, 8 soldiers and a civilian who have been deposited at the 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital,” he said.

THE CASUALTY

Reliable sources both within the military and the University of Maiduguri have, however, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the casualty was beyond what was announced by the army, and that none of the oil workers were actually rescued alive.

Mr. Usman did not say how many NNPC officials were rescued alive.

At least 18 other people died from the raid, a top military source confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES.

“The rescue team which comprised the military, CJTF leadership from Maiduguri and the Magumeri chapter arrived back Maiduguri at about 6:30 p.m,” the source said.

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