Many soldiers were killed in the northeast as dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram took them by surprise in a bloody attack.
Boko Haram on Monday claimed it killed 20 soldiers in northeastern Nigeria, in violence marring the celebrations following the release of some of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, AFP reports.
According to a statement by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram “stormed a joint position of the armies of Nigeria and Niger” in the town of Ghashghar in northeast Borno State and left about 20 soldiers dead with many wounded. The Attack took place on Sunday.
A community leader in the Ghashghar area confirmed the raid, saying soldiers were taken by surprise when Boko Haram militants fired rocket-propelled grenades.
“I was called by two of my contacts … informing of an attack late yesterday on the joint military personnel from Nigeria and Niger stationed in Asaka village, around 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Ghashghar,” a community leader from the area said.
“According to them, Boko Haram launched an attack with heavy guns and rocket-propelled grenades on the soldiers. The attackers came in eight vehicles,” said the leader, who asked to remain anonymous fearing reprisal from the military.
“The soldiers suffered huge casualties because they were taken off-guard. They never anticipated such an attack,” he said, adding that the jihadists stole six military vehicles and weapons.
ISWAP is a faction of Boko Haram, whose leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi was appointed by the Islamic State jihadist group in August. The group broke off from Boko Haram’s longtime leader, Abubakar Shekau.
Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 since it began its terrorist attack 7 years ago.