Jihadists seize military base in Borno

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Jihadists aligned with the Islamic State militant group have captured a military base in Borno state after overnight clashes with troops, sources told AFP on Saturday. Machine-gun wielding fighters from Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) attacked the base in the town of Marte in the Lake Chad area overnight Friday into Saturday, two sources said.

 

“The priority now is to reclaim the base from the terrorists and an operation is underway,” one of the sources said. “We took a hit from ISWAP terrorists. They raided the base in Marte after a fierce battle.” The second 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, which split from Boko Haram in 2016, maintains camps on islands in Lake Chad — where Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad meet — and the area is known to be group’s bastion. Last week, the jihadists attacked the Marte base but were repelled, prompting them to mobilise more fighters for the overnight raid, said the sources.

 

The raid was seen as a “fightback” after recent losses — troops recently overran ISWAP’s second largest camp in Talala village, said the sources. In November last year, officials began the phased return of residents to Marte six years after they were pushed out by the jihadists. The town, 130 kilometres (80 miles) from the regional capital Maiduguri, was once considered the breadbasket of the Lake Chad region.

 

 

At least 36,000 people have been killed in the jihadist conflict since 2009 and violence has spread into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition.



Atinuke Nukay

Atinuke Nukay is a Presenter/Reporter for TV360 Nigeria, Abuja Bureau.  She is a Media/Communication professional, who has worked as a ICT journalist, and is also specialized in Business, Telecommunications, Gender Issues and several other Beat-reporting for more than a decade.  Atinuke currently covers the National Assembly for TV360. She has garnered robust and wide international exposure over the years.  She is a member of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and also the Vice President, Nigeria Information Technology Reporters' Association (NITRA) Abuja Chapter. A graduate of Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja. Atinuke is a business communication strategist and image perception management professional and a member of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).


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