Many Nigerian soldiers were feared killed as gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist group attacked two different Army bases in Borno State.
According to AFP, the attack carried out on Friday and Saturday at Army base and a town in North-East Nigeria left nine soldiers, two policemen and civilians killed quoting security sources and residents.
The report said the suspected ISWAP members riding in trucks fitted with machine guns, launched the attacks in Malam Fatori, in Abadam district, late Friday and early Saturday.
“ISWAP terrorists attacked Malam Fatori and caused huge destruction which we are working to quantify,” a military officer told AFP.
“They attacked the military base and engaged troops in a fight while a second group went on a killing spree and arson in the town,” said the officer who asked not to be named.
The first attack, near the Niger Republic border, came at dusk Friday, leading to a fierce battle with soldiers who repelled the assault, said resident Buji Garwa.
In a pre-dawn attack on the base and the town on Saturday, the jihadists threw explosives and killed residents, while others drowned in a river trying to escape the attack.
Two security sources said on Sunday that nine soldiers and two policemen were killed in the Army base attack.
“The number of casualties sustained in the base is 11, including nine soldiers and two mobile policemen working alongside troops,” a military officer said.
The same toll was confirmed by a second security source.
“We lost nine soldiers and two policemen from the base. It is still not clear how many people civilians were killed inside the town,” said the second security source.
“It is not clear how many people were killed because we all fled the town and are now gradually returning to assess the damage,” Garwa said, adding much of the town had been set ablaze.
“We have started combing the bushes and picking (up) bodies of those killed and searching along the riverbanks to find those washed to the shores,” he said.
Another resident, Baitu Madari, told AFP she had counted a dozen people killed in her neighborhood.
“I have no idea of the number of the dead bodies recovered in other parts of town. The destruction is really huge,” she said.
According to an intelligence officer, the attackers came from nearby Kamuya village.
“Kamuya is the largest ISWAP camp in Lake Chad area which is just 8 kilometers from Malam Fatori.
“All the previous unsuccessful attacks on Malam Fatori were launched from Kamuya, which is well fortified with mines and heavy weapons,” the source added.