Jihadists aligned with the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) have captured a military base in Borno state after overnight clashes with troops, sources familiar with the matter told AFP on Saturday.
It was gathered the gun-wielding ISWAP fighters attacked the base in the town of Marte in the Lake Chad area on Friday night, an attack that lasted until Saturday morning.
“The priority now is to reclaim the base from the terrorists and an operation is underway. We took a hit from ISWAP terrorists. They raided the base in Marte after a fierce battle,” a source told the publication.
Another source said the army “incurred losses” but it was not yet clear how many people had died or the level of destruction inflicted by the insurgents.
ISWAP, a splinter faction of Boko Haram have their camps on islands in Lake Chad, a point where Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad meet.
The jihadists attacked the Marte base last week, however, they were repelled, prompting them to mobilise more fighters for the overnight raid, said the sources.
Last night’s attack was seen as a reprisal, after troops recently overran ISWAP’s second largest camp in Talala village, said the sources.
The Borno State government, in November 2020, began the phased return of residents to Marte six years after they were pushed out by the jihadists.
Marte is approximately 130 kilometres (80 miles) from the regional capital Maiduguri.
It is estimated that at least 36,000 people have been killed in the insurgency which began since 2009. Following the spread of the conflict into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, a joint regional military outfit has since been formed.