At the least 31 Nigerian troopers have been killed when IS-aligned jihadists ambushed a navy convoy escorting weapons and overran a base in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, navy sources mentioned on Monday.
Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) attacked the convoy with rocket-propelled grenades on Sunday within the city of Mainok exterior the regional capital Maiduguri earlier than storming the close by base, the 2 sources mentioned.
The assault was the deadliest this yr towards Nigeria’s military which has been battling a decade-long jihadist insurgency within the area that has killed 36,000 individuals and displaced round two million from their properties.
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“We misplaced 31 troopers, together with their commander who was a lieutenant colonel, within the ambush by the terrorists,” a navy officer mentioned concerning the assault which occurred round 1100 GMT.
The convoy was transporting weapons to Maiduguri when it got here beneath assault, mentioned a second navy supply who gave the same toll.
“The terrorists got here in a number of vans, together with 4 MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected automobiles) and engaged the convoy in a fierce battle,” the second supply mentioned.
The militants overwhelmed troopers, resulting in the “colossal loss” of troops, he mentioned.
“We misplaced quite a lot of males in very ugly manner.”
The jihadists seized weapons and two MRAPs within the assault earlier than overrunning and partially burning the bottom exterior the city, the 2 sources mentioned.
Mainok, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Maiduguri, has been repeatedly focused by the jihadists.
ISWAP has ceaselessly arrange bogus checkpoints alongside the 120-km freeway linking Maiduguri and Damaturu in neighbouring Yobe state on which Mainok lies, killing and abducting travellers.
ISWAP cut up from mainstream Boko Haram faction in 2016 and rose to change into a dominant drive within the northeast as Nigeria’s battle has spilt over borders into neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
Round 2,000 residents of Geidam in neighbouring Yobe state fled their properties after a separate assault by ISWAP who invaded the city Friday, native officers mentioned.
On Sunday residents fled, crossing to the opposite aspect of the river to flee militants who’ve been in management since they attacked the city.
“Our individuals are fleeing Geidam which is now beneath the management of the insurgents,” Ali Koko Kachalla, Geidam’s political administrator, mentioned.
Late on Friday ISWAP jihadists took management of Geidam after a gunfight with troops, looting and burning shops within the city.
At the least 11 civilians have been killed within the combat after a projectile hit two adjoining properties, killing all occupants, in response to residents.
The exodus was prompted by focused killings of residents by the insurgents, in response to fleeing residents.
“Everyone is operating away as a result of the insurgents have began killing people who find themselves Christians and people with western training,” resident Babagana Kyari mentioned.
“Thus far they’ve killed two Christians and two Muslim college lecturers. They went to their properties and slaughtered them,” mentioned one other resident Ari Sanda.
The military issued an announcement on Saturday, claiming to have taken again Geidam from the jihadists. However residents and native officers mentioned militants have been nonetheless round.
Since 2019, troopers have closed up some smaller bases and moved into bigger fortified garrisons generally known as “tremendous camps” in an try to raised resist militant assaults.
However critics say the “tremendous camp” technique has additionally allowed militants extra freedom in rural areas and left travellers extra weak to kidnapping.