Kano – Seven Nigerian soldiers were killed on Friday when Islamic State group-aligned jihadists attacked a military base in the northeast near the border with Cameroon, military sources said.
Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in several trucks fitted with machine guns attacked the base in the town of Rann around 0100 GMT, sparking an intense gun battle with troops, the sources said.
“Troops repelled the attack but we lost seven soldiers to the terrorists, including two officers,” one officer said.
A group from the retreating jihadists hid inside the fortification trenches around the town and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at troops in pursuit, said another military officer giving the same toll.
The attack forced residents to flee their homes, said the sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorised to speak on the incident.
Rann, 175km (110 miles) northeast of Maiduguri, home to 35,000 people displaced by the jihadist violence, has been repeatedly targeted by ISWAP and rival Boko Haram.
ISWAP has been consolidating territory in the Lake Chad area since rival Boko Haram commander Abubakar Shekau was killed in fighting between the two jihadist forces earlier this year.
Last month seven troops, including a senior military commander, were killed in two separate attacks in the northeast claimed by ISWAP.
In August at least 17 people, including a soldier and an aid worker, were killed when ISWAP militants attacked Rann in a foiled bid to seize the base.
Since 2019, soldiers have shut down some smaller army bases and moved into larger, fortified garrisons known as “super camps” in an attempt to better resist militant attacks.
But critics say the “super camp” strategy has also allowed militants more liberty to move around in rural areas and left travellers more vulnerable to kidnapping.
The conflict which has displaced around two million in the northeast spilled into neighbouring countries, prompting a regional military coalition fighting the Islamist groups to try to end the violence.
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