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06.12.2021 Featured CLOSE UP: Who Was Abdurrahman Hamzala, Army Commander Killed by ISWAP in Borno?

Published 6th Dec, 2021

By Tola Owoyele

When Lt. Abdurrahman Hamzala got married to his wife in February, he did not know that 10 months later, he would die defending Nigeria’s sovereignty against insurgents in Borno State.

On Thursday, Hamzala, a commanding officer of the Operation Hadin Kai, and six other soldiers were killed by fighters of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).

The senior officer was killed when the insurgents attacked Rann, a town in Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno.

He was one of the brave soldiers sending criminals undermining Nigeria’s security to God in the northeast region, according to interviews with sources aware of his role on the war front.

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JOINED THE ARMY IN 2018

Hamzala with men under his command after overpowering ISWAP in a gun battle

Hamzala studied political science at Gombe State University, graduating in 2016. He joined the Nigerian Army in 2018 through the Direct Short Service Commission (DSSC), after completing his mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 2017.

According to Lawal Hamzat, his closest friend before death, Hamzala was always passionate about anything that concerned Nigeria.

“While in school, we, his close friends, never really did much in terms of knowing what the country was facing in insurgent attacks,” he told FIJ. “He was always the one to tell us what was going on. So, when he told us he was joining the army after we completed our youth service, no one was really surprised.”

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LIFE ON THE BATTLEGROUND

Hamzala on patrol

Before his death, the officer shared his horrible experience with family and friends. He told them about the unpredictability of insurgents and their use of sophisticated weapons against the Nigerian Army.

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He told his bosom friends how his patrol team would comb Borno forests to fight the marauding terrorists. He also told them about the overwhelming fight against the insurgents as events unfolded on the battlefield.

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“He would always tell us about the sophisticated weapons that ISWAP and Boko Haram fighters carried with them during the gun battle,” one of his friends told FIJ. “He also stated that the only edge the army had over insurgents was the higher level of training soldiers have in handling weapons. He has never minced words in making it known that the insurgents are better equipped in terms of weaponry.”

His family and friends described him as a simple and kind person, and a man always willing to help people in need, even at short notice.

Published 6th Dec, 2021

By Tola Owoyele

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