Jihadists killed 13 soldiers in northeast Nigeria

Nigerian Army soldiers stand at a base in Baga on August 2, 2019. – Intense fighting between a regional force and the Islamic State group in West Africa (ISWAP) has resulted in dozens of deaths, including at least 25 soldiers and more than 40 jihadists, in northeastern Nigeria. ISWAP broke away from Boko Haram in 2016 in part due to its rejection of indiscriminate attacks on civilians. Last year the group witnessed a reported takeover by more hardline fighters who sidelined its leader and executed his deputy. The IS-affiliate has since July 2018 ratcheted up a campaign of attacks against military targets. (Photo by AUDU MARTE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AUDU MARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Thirteen soldiers have died in an ambush by jihadist fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province group in volatile northeastern Nigeria, two army sources told AFP on Monday.

Heavy gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades hit a military convoy in Gazagana village, 30 kilometres from Yobe state capital Damaturu on Saturday.

“We lost 13 soldiers in this ambush and several were injured,” an officer said.

The convoy was headed for a military base at Buni Yadi, another 20 kilometres from Damaturu, said the second army source, who gave the same death toll.

“It was a fierce battle and the terrorists also suffered casualties,” he said, without giving a figure.

The ISWAP group carries out regular attacks in Buni Yadi region on soldiers and travellers, with the violence spilling over into Borno state.

Since 2009, the jihadist campaign in northeast Nigeria has focused on Borno where the Boko Haram group is also active.

ISWAP split from Boko Haram in 2016 and rose to become a dominant group.

The violence has spread into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the militants.

At least 36,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has displaced about two million from their homes since 2009.

AFP

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