At least eight soldiers have been killed and several others wounded or missing after an ambush by the so-called Islamic State in West Africa (IKDA) in northeastern Nigeria, two sources close to the French military said on Friday.
The jihadists fired rockets at a military convoy moving between the towns of Dikua and Marte in Borno state, according to the sources.
“The terrorists attacked (the convoy) with several rocket launchers, killing eight soldiers. “Several others are missing,” said an official.
Eight other soldiers and a member of a paramilitary group involved in anti-jihadist operations were injured, according to the same source.
A second military source confirmed the report to AFP.
The jihadists snatched two military vehicles and set fire to three more.
It was the second attack in less than two weeks by the IKDA against the Nigerian Armed Forces, which is struggling to put an end to the jihadist insurgency that has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people in 12 years.
Ten days ago, at least 16 soldiers and two paramilitaries were killed in an ambush; it was the deadliest operation since the beginning of the year. The IKDA, which took responsibility for it, claimed that 25 soldiers lost their lives.
The jihadists detonated roadside bombs before firing rocket-propelled grenades at a convoy heading from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, to the fortified city of Monguno.
The group has recently stepped up its attacks on civilians on the Maiduguri-Monguno axis, which stretches for about 135 kilometers. They have set up checkpoints, extorted money and other items from motorists and killed them, according to residents.
The near-daily attacks forced the army to patrol along the road, according to sources close to the armed forces.
As of 2019, the army has closed several remote bases and redeployed forces to larger, better-guarded camps, known as super camps, to deal with jihadist attacks.
But this tactic left the guerrillas free to move more easily in rural areas and made travelers even more vulnerable to attacks.