ISIS claims 8 Nigeria soldiers killed in attack near Gamboru in the Lake Chad area

Islamic State claimed eight Nigerian soldiers were killed and 17 others wounded in an attack in the Lake Chad area in the country’s northeast, close to the border with Cameroon.

In a statement released on social media, ISIS claimed a number of militants from its Islamic State West Africa Province affiliate attacked a gathering of soldiers near the town of Gamboru on Friday.

It said the militants “returned to their positions safely.”

ISWAP is one of two factions of the Boko Haram jihadist group.

Gamboru residents told AFP on condition of anonymity the jihadists had launched the attacks on Thursday around the bridge straddling the border with Cameroon.

The ISIS claim came a day after the Nigerian Army said in a Facebook post that it had captured weapons and stores during operations against Boko Haram in the area a day earlier.

It did not mention army casualties.

Troops from 3 Battalion Ngala on November 29 conducted “offensive patrols” from the Gamboru and Ngala Bridge area towards Boko Haram “withdrawal routes” near Wurge village.

“On [sighting] the troops, the terrorists who were massing up for a possible attack abandoned their logistics stores and equipment and fled,” the statement said.

Among a long list, the army said it had captured a Toyota Hilux vehicle, two motorbikes, an AK-47 assault rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades, an MP3 player, three water melons and two cans of milk.

Boko Haram split into two factions in mid-2016 over ideological differences, but a recent video posted by faction leader Abubakar Shekau hints at attempts to reconcile with the faction led by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi known as Islamic State West Africa Province.

ISWAP largely focuses on attacking military and government targets, while Shekau’s faction is notorious for suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings of civilians

Shekau’s faction was blamed for the abduction of around 50 people near Bulakesa village, 25 km (15 miles) from Gamboru on November 17. The hostages were mostly from a camp for people displaced by violence.

Shekau has pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, but ISIS central gave its formal backing only to ISWAP, which has lately intensified its armed campaign, launching a number of major assaults amid signs of a takeover by more hardline leaders.

Since July, around 20 military bases have been attacked, and in recent days a number of assaults have been launched in the Lake Chad area.

On November 28 three soldiers were killed in attack on a military base in Cross-Kauwa near Lake Chad, and on November 30, Boko Haram militants attacked a military base in Arege village, killing at least one soldier.

In the most audacious attack on November 18, ISWAP fighters killed at least 43 soldiers when they overran a base in Metele near the border with Niger, although soldiers who survived the raid said more than 100 of their colleagues were killed.

On November 20, Islamic State published images it said were from the recent attacks, including pictures of the captured vehicles.

The military on November 28 gave an official figure of 23 deaths, and on November 30 lashed out at what it said was “deliberate and concerted efforts to mislead the public.”

In a Facebook post, the Director of Army Public Relations Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman said that some media outlets were “creating erroneous impression of the Nigerian Army through inaccurate and false publication of casualty figures on the unfortunate attacks on some of its locations in the North East.”

With reporting from AFP

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