Jihadists killed five Nigerian security personnel in a gunfight outside Maiduguri, the main city in Borno State, security sources said Wednesday. The state is the restive northeast of the country. A joint military and police patrol came under fire Tuesday from fighters aligned to the so-called Islamic State group near Buta village, 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Maiduguri, security personnel told AFP.
“We lost two soldiers, two policemen and one militiaman in the attack,” a military officer said on condition of anonymity. The officer said it was an “unexpected encounter as the terrorists were heading somewhere to launch an attack when they bumped into the patrol team”.
A member of a government-backed militia said intense fighting broke out and the jihadists “lost several men”. Islamists in the region have been waging an insurgency for over a decade that has killed 36,000 people and displaced almost two million. Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction broke way from the main Boko Haram group in 2016. ISWAP has focused on attacking military bases and soldiers, although the group has stepped up attacks on civilians. Both ISWAP and Boko Haram were hit by an offensive conducted by troops from neighbouring Chad in recent weeks which dislodged the jihadists from their camps on islands in Lake Chad. [AFP]