Six Nigerian soldiers were killed when a jihadist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into them during a clash in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, two military sources said Tuesday.
The suicide bombing by a member of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group occurred Monday as the soldiers were conducting a raid of the group’s stronghold in the village of Talala, the sources told AFP.
They said scores of jihadists have been killed in the operation launched last week on ISWAP’s second largest camp.
“Our men dominated the terrorists, killing dozens, and out of frustration they sent a suicide bomber who killed six soldiers,” one of the officers said. They said the troops overran the Talala camp despite the bombing.
On Saturday 13 soldiers were killed in an ISWAP ambush near the town of Gujba in the neighboring state of Yobe, according to military sources.
ISWAP, which split from the mainstream Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant group, focusing on military targets and high-profile attacks, including against aid workers.
The jihadist group has in recent times stepped up attacks on troops and frequently abduct travelers at bogus checkpoints along the highway linking the Borno capital Maiduguri and Damaturu, the capital of Yobe.
At least 36,000 people have been killed in the conflict since 2009 with around two million displaced in the northeast, according to the UN.
The violence has spilled into neighboring Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the jihadist groups.