Boko Haram insurgents are unrelenting in their renewed attrition against the Nigerian Army as they reportedly killed 11 soldiers in another attack on Friday.
The insurgents also were reported to have seized weapons in a raid on a military post in the attack, residents and a military source said Sunday.
The gunmen in five trucks and on motorcycles reportedly stormed the checkpoint in Bunari village near the garrison town of Monguno in Borno State late Friday, leading to a fierce battle.
“They came around 6:30 pm and attacked the military checkpoint and soldiers responded with fire,” resident Amadu Sheriff said.
“The attackers overpowered the soldiers who took up positions in the trenches dug round the checkpoint from where they fought the Boko Haram gunmen,” he said.
Three civilians, including a woman and her child, from a nearby settlement, were killed by stray bullets, he said.
He said residents of the nearby settlement evacuated on Saturday and moved to Monguno for fear of renewed attacks.
Sheriff had no idea of military casualties but saw “two ambulances carrying dead soldiers” being taken to Monguno, eight kilometres (five miles) away.
A military source who confirmed the attack said 11 troops were killed. “Four (military) vehicles including an APC (armoured personnel carrier) and a gun truck were carted away by the terrorists,” said the military source who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.
The attackers were repelled with the help of reinforcements from Monguno, he added.
News of the attack was slow to emerge due to poor communication in the area where Boko Haram has destroyed telecoms infrastructure in the last three years.
But ia statement Sunday, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, Deputy Director, Public Relations, Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, said troops killed 16 insurgents in an encounter that occurred at about 6.50 pm Friday, in Mairari, a village in Monguno Local Council Area of Borno State.
He was silent on casualties on the side of the military.
The statement said the “gallant troops also recovered 163 rounds of antiaircraft gun ammunition during the fierce encounter.”