Nigerian Airstrikes Kill 70 ‘Terrorists’

Nigeria’s airforce said Saturday that it had killed more than 70 Islamic State-affiliated fighters in the north of the country, at the border with Niger.

The statement said aircraft from both Nigeria and Niger had taken part in the operation.

The Lake Chad area where Nigeria said it launched the airstrikes is known for hosting fighters of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a jihadist group active since 2016.

With older rivals Boko Haram, the two factions have killed more than 40,000 people in the past decade and over two million people are still displaced from their homes due to ongoing violence.

“Missions over the suspected locations… conducted on 13 April 2022 specifically sighted large number of terrorists, a likely logistics camp,” Nigeria’s airforce spokesman Edward Gabkwet said.

As a result, they carried out airstrikes on April 14 at Tumbun Rego and a nearby training camp, using aircraft from both Nigeria and Niger, he added in a statement.

“Over 70 ISWAP terrorists were either eliminated or severely injured,” he said.

Nigeria often scales up its offensive at this time of the year, before the rainy season starts.

Soldiers have been battling the jihadist insurgency for more than 12 years.

Since last year, ISWAP has mostly taken over from its rival Boko Haram, after its leader Abubakar Shekau died during inter-factional clashes.

Shekau had gained international notoriety after kidnapping nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014.

Government troops are also battling heavily armed gangs in the northwest and separatist tensions in the southeast.

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