SWITZERLAND, JUNE 15 – Islamic State’s West African branch (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for an attack on a Nigerian Army base in Borno State and said its fighters had killed 20 soldiers.
The assault, which raised questions about government claims to have almost defeated the insurgents, took place in the town of Kareto on Wednesday.
The barracks were burnt and a tank destroyed, Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) said in a statement published on the SITE Intelligence website.
Security sources had said earlier that the base, home to troops from the Nigerian Army’s 158th Battalion and 130 km (80 miles) from the state capital Maiduguri, had been overrun and the commander killed.
After the assault, the militants left Kareto, but remained in the area, the sources said.
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Reuters said the Nigerian Army did not respond to requests for comment.
Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), which split from Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram, in 2016, has carried out a number of attacks in the North-East over the last few months, including on military bases.
The government had said the Boko Haram insurgency and the rival Islamic State West Africa Province group were on their last legs. But sustained efforts to eradicate the militants have failed and the military continues to suffer heavy losses.
The insurgency has killed more than 30,000 people and displaced millions of civilians in affected areas.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his second-term inaugural speech on Wednesday, said the government was providing more support for the security forces in terms of money and equipment.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police disclosed on Friday that about 100 bandits invaded a community in Katsina State on Thursday but were repelled with a 70-year-old suspect arrested.
This was contained in a statement signed by the state Police Public Relations Officer, Gambo Isah, a Superintendent of Police.
According to the statement, “On 13/06/2019 at about 11:55hrs, a distress call was received that about 100 armed bandits were seen around Pauwa village, Kankara LGA of Katsina State with about 50 stolen cows.
“A joint patrol team comprising Operations Puff Adder and Sharan Daji was mobilised to the scene.
“On arrival, the teams engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel which made them retreat and escape into the rough and hilly mountainous area of Rugu forest.
“One Bawa Naganda (male) aged 70 was arrested at the scene. The teams extended patrol to other villages and on reaching Danbirgima forest, the team sighted three persons on a motorcycle.
“The men on the motorcycle opened fire at the team, then abandoned the motorcycle and tried to escape. The team returned fire and as a result, one Kurma (male) was shot dead, while one Isah Babai (male) aged 25 and one Ali Beti (male) were arrested by the security forces.
Investigation is ongoing, according to the statement.