Islamic State’s West African branch has claimed responsibilty for an attack on a Nigerian army base in northeastern 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 the from the Nigerian Army’s 158th Battalion and 130 km (80 miles) from the state capital Maiduguri, had been overun and the commander killed.
After the assault, the militants left Kareto, but remained in the area, the sources said. The Nigerian Army did not respond to requests for comment. Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), which split from Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram in 2016, has carried out a number of attacks in the northeast over the last few months, including on military bases.
The government has said the Boko Haram insurgency, and the rival Islamic State West Africa Province group, are 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 providing more support for the security forces in terms of money and equipment. The insurgency has killed more than 30,000 people and displaced millions of civilians in affected areas.