Boko Haram terrorists have killed no fewer than 53 soldiers and farmers in three days of attacks in Nigeria’s troubled northeast region.
The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a Boko Haram splinter group, killed at least 44 soldiers in attacks on three military bases at the weekend, security sources told AFP.
Of those, at least 43 were killed on Sunday in Metele, a remote village near the border with the Niger Republic, according to a military officer who requested anonymity.
“Our troops were completely routed and the terrorists captured the base after heavy fighting,” he said, adding that the base commander and three officers were among the dead.
The military personnel added, “A search was underway for survivors or further victims in the surrounding bush.”
While the military authorities have yet to react or issue a statement about the incident, a pro-government militiaman said the insurgents arrived on around 20 trucks and Army air support did not arrive until after they had “invaded the base and looted the weapons”.
The same day, the group also launched a pre-dawn attack on a base in the town of Gajiram, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of the Borno State capital, Maiduguri.
The jihadists have recently carried out a string of major attacks on military and civilian targets, despite the Federal Government’s insistence that the terrorist group is near defeat.
ISWAP claimed responsibility for the attacks in Metele and Mainok, boasting that they killed at least 42 soldiers in addition to carting away four tanks and other vehicles, according to the SITE Intelligence monitoring group.
In addition, Monday saw the latest in a string of attacks on villages, usually carried out to pillage food and abduct civilians used as fighters or forced to marry the terrorists.