Islamic State’s West Africa Province Thursday claimed to have overrun a Nigerian Army base in Borno State, killing the unit’s commander and nineteen other soldiers.
A large cache of arms of the unit, a tank and a Shilka were allegedly destroyed during the attack on 158 Task Force Battalion at the village of Kareto, Borno state.
Kareto is around 135 km (84 miles) northwest of Borno state capital Maiduguri, not far from the Niger border.
ISWAP militants further said it captured seven 4×4 vehicles and burned the base, then “withdrew safely”.
The Nigerian Army is yet to confirm the incident.
However, a military source said the attack by the rampaging terrorists occurred on June 12, Nigeria’s new Democracy Day.
The Army Headquarters in Abuja was said to have been alerted to the development, and an emergency team of rescuer was deployed to manage the aftermath.
Military sources said the insurgents had since receded to a remote location around Fuchimiram Village, about six kilometres west of Kareto where the incident occurred in Mobba LGA.
The attack is the latest blow to Nigeria’s efforts to defeat insurgencies by Boko Haram and ISWAP.
Nigeria’s military and government have repeatedly said they are on the point of defeating the militants.
However, raids on military bases have continued over recent months, inflicting significant casualties. One assault on an army post on the border with Niger in September left 48 people dead.
Regardless, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari said during the official celebration of the country’s Democracy Day that his government is countering the insurgency in the northeast “with superior strategy, firepower and resolve.”