Our True Heroes: Reflecting On The Sacrifice Of Lt. Col. AH Ali And Fellow Officers

By Yunusa Bunu Zanna

It is with profound sorrow that we bid farewell to the valiant Lt. Col. AH Ali and his esteemed comrades, whose unwavering dedication to duty has left an indelible mark on our hearts and our nation.

Lt. Col. AH Ali, known affectionately as Ali Gadanga, met a tragic end at the hands of those he pledged to safeguard. The manner in which our hero, the scourge of Boko Haram Terrorists/ISWAP, was brutally slain on Thursday is a testament to the depths of ingratitude within the community he served.

Ali Gadanga’s illustrious career, spanning since his captaincy in 2016, witnessed his involvement in countless operations against terrorism in the treacherous terrain of Sambisa. His valor, indomitable spirit and tactical prowess as a special forces officer were beyond description, earning him admiration not only from his comrades but also from the civilian Joint Task Force and the populace. Until you are told he is a warlord, you will never know when you see him amidst civilians—always cheering.

In the annals of Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram, the sacrifices of individuals like Lt. Col. Abu Ali, Lt. Col. Salami Abdullah, Major Hassan, Col. Ibrahim Sakaba, Lt. Bakaka Ngorgi, and Lt. Col. K Yusuf, alongside Lt. Col. AH Ali, stand out for their ultimate sacrifice. Their bravery eclipses all others, though it in no way diminishes the contributions of their living counterparts or those permanently disabled in service.

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Lt. Col. AH Ali’s collaborations with fellow hero Lt. Col. Manga Lt. Col. Dabo were legendary, striking fear into the hearts of terrorists wherever they tread. Their relentless pursuit of the insurgents knew no bounds, even when the odds of survival seemed bleak. They pursued the enemy relentlessly, exhibiting unwavering determination until they sent them to face divine judgment.

Ali’s pivotal role in operations to dismantle Abubakar Shekau’s stronghold in Sambisa forest, culminating in the recovery of sophisticated weaponry, including MRAPs, exemplifies his leadership and strategic acumen. His confidence in his team was unwavering, often manifesting in moments of levity amidst the perils of Sambisa.

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From Timbuktu to Chad Basin, New Marte to Ngomboru Ngala, kangarwa and Tumbun Gini, Lt. Col. Ali’s presence loomed large in every major operation against terrorism.

His accomplishments, alongside those of Lt. Col. Manga, may surpass those of Lt. Col. Abu Ali but never fall short. They embodied fearlessness and were the bane of Boko Haram and ISWAP.

Transferred from the North East following a mass surrender of over 100 thousand insurgents in the North East, Ali confronted the scourge of banditry and kidnapping in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, and parts of Kaduna.

The road along Birnin Gwari, long plagued by terrorist activities, remained impassable despite repeated efforts by troops to secure it. When assigned the task, Ali’s swift resolution in clearing the long-abandoned route within three weeks exemplified his unwavering resolve.

Subsequently deployed to the volatile Niger Delta region, Ali played a pivotal role in curbing oil theft, bunkering, and communal unrest, earning accolades for his instrumental role in numerous successful missions.

Tragically, on Thursday, March 14, 2024, Ali, alongside two majors, a captain and twelve soldiers, fell victim to a senseless communal clash between the Okuama and Okoloba communities in Delta State.

Their peaceful mission was met with unimaginable brutality, as assailants not only took their lives but desecrated their remains.

Rest in peace, brave heroes; your legacy shall endure eternally in our hearts. Though we mourn your loss, we take solace in the belief that divine providence has relieved you of your earthly burdens.

The news of your untimely demise reverberates through every echelon of our military, leaving a void that can never be filled. May Allah grant solace to those you leave behind, and may your sacrifice never be forgotten.

In this time of mourning, I extend my deepest condolences to the Nigerian populace especially those who know the value and daily sacrifice of frontline soldiers protecting us; the Army hierarchy, your comrades-in-arms, and the resilient people of Borno — for indeed our hero is no more!


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