Three soldiers were killed when Boko Haram militants raided a military base in northeast Nigeria, security sources said on Saturday, February 9.
The attack happened at the Forward Operation Base in Ngwom village, around 14 km (nine miles) north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.
“Boko Haram infiltrated our base in Ngwom yesterday [Friday] at around 6:50 pm in which we lost three soldiers,” a military officer in Maiduguri told AFP.
A second military source said the Islamist militants left with two army vehicles and “demobilised” a mine-resistant armoured vehicle.
“The terrorists also burnt two houses and a car belonging to our members in the village,” added a civilian militia leader in Maiduguri.
It was not immediately clear which of the two Boko Haram factions was behind the raid.
Update February 10 ISIS in a statement claimed ISWA fighters attacked a military base in “Ghum,” likely meaning Ngwom, on February 8. It said three soldiers were killed and others injured, and two vehicles, weapons and ammunition were seized.
Some recent attacks in the Maiduguri area have been attributed to Abubakar Shekau’s faction.
On February 4, Fighters thought to be from the Shekau faction of Boko Haram shot dead three goat herders near Tubba, around eight km (five miles) Maiduguri.
Shekau’s faction was also blamed for the January 28 killing of four farmers near Molai, around five km (three miles) from Maiduguri.
Boko Haram’s bloody insurgency began in northeastern Nigeria in 2009 but has since spread into neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military response. Some 27,000 people have been killed and two million others displaced, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.
Boko Haram split into two factions in mid-2016. One is led by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi and largely focuses on attacking military and government targets, while the other, led by Abubakar Shekau, is notorious for suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings of civilians.
Shekau pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, but ISIS central only gives formal backing to the Barnawi faction, which is known as Islamic State West Africa province.
Both factions of Boko Haram have intensified attacks in the region over several months, but the upsurge in ISWA attacks has been much more serious. Amid signs of a takeover by more hardline leaders, the group has launched dozens of assaults on military targets in Borno and Yobe states in Nigeria.
The army said Nigerian troops killed and wounded “scores of” Boko Haram insurgents during a firefight in Mallam Fatori on February 7. ISIS claimed ISWA fighters had carried out actions in the area over several days.
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With reporting from AFP