Jihadists linked to the Islamic State group have killed 14 Nigerian soldiers in an attack on an army base, military sources have said.
Two sources told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity that fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group had attacked the base in Jakana on Friday evening, firing machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
“We lost 14 soldiers in the fight, including the commanding officer and another officer,” one source said. Several other soldiers were missing and presumed to have either escaped or been captured by the militants, said the second source who gave the same toll. The sources asked not to be identified as they were not authorised to speak.
The insurgents seized four trucks fitted with machine guns in the raid, the sources said. Jakana, 25km (15 miles) from regional capital Maiduguri in north-east Nigeria, lies on a known crossing route for ISWAP fighters moving between their camps in the Benisheikh forest area of Borno and their hideouts in the Buni Yadi area of Yobe.
The village and the base have been repeatedly raided by the jihadist fighters who splintered from the main Boko Haram group four years ago. Since the split, ISWAP has intensified attacks on military targets, raiding bases and ambushing soldiers.
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At least 36,000 people have been killed and about 2 million displaced in the decade-long Islamist conflict in northeast Nigeria.
The violence has spread to neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad, leading to the formation of a regional military force to fight the insurgents.
In Camerron, Boko Haram fighters killed three villagers and abducted five children in the far north, where jihadist groups are increasingly active, local officials said Saturday.
The attack took place overnight Thursday to Friday in the village of Oudal, six kilometres from the country's border with Nigeria, where the jihadist group is based, local mayor Boukar Medjeweh told AFP.
The victims were all men and the abducted children were between the ages of three and 15, Medjeweh said.
Mahamat Chetima Abba, traditional chief of the nearby Mozogo commune, confirmed the attack and also attributed it to Boko Haram.
Attacks in this border region by members of Boko Haram and a dissident branch, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), have become increasingly frequent in recent months, as they have along Nigeria's borders with Chad and Niger.
Civilians, particularly women and children, are frequently abducted.
The Boko Haram insurgency originated in 2009 in north-eastern Nigeria before spreading to neighbouring countries.
Since then, more than 36,000 people have been killed, mostly in Nigeria, and 3 million have been forced to flee their homes, according to the UN.