The Nigerian army had regained control of its military base in Marte, in the north-east of the country on Sunday, after “intense fighting” with the jihadists of the Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap) group who claimed the attack.
“Operation TURA TAKAIBANGO troops, in coordination with the Air Force, destroyed seven militarized trucks of the +terrorists+ of Iswap/Boko Haram, and decimated several +terrorists+ as they tried to attack their position,” the Nigerian army said in a statement published Saturday night.
“The troops are still in pursuit of +terrorists+. More details will be communicated to the public later,” it was read.
On Sunday morning, the army had regained control of its base, according to sources contacted by AFP and the “terrorists left the city of Marte”, from where thousands of civilians fled to Maiduguri, the capital of the state of Borno, 130 kilometers away.
Many fighters from Iswap, a dissenting branch of the Nigerian jihadist group in Boko Haram, had attacked Marte‘s strategic military base on Friday night and still had control of it on Saturday during the day, before being dislodged by the Nigerian army, including a heavy air operation.
According to military sources speaking on the guise of anonymity, the Nigerian army “suffered loss of life and equipment,” but it was still impossible to establish an accurate record.
The Iswap, who claimed this attack on Sunday, claims to have killed seven soldiers and “captured eight, while the others fled.” They also claim to have stolen many weapons, ammunition, vehicles, and completely burned the barracks.
The Nigerian army has suffered very heavy casualties in recent years against the fighters in Iswap, a dissenting branch of the Boko Haram group that has been sowing terror in northeastern Nigeria for more than 10 years.
ISIS affiliated Iswap seceded Boko Haram in 2016 and has been entrenched mainly in the area of Lake Chad, a strategic border region on the borders of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
Last week, fighters had already carried out an attack on Marte’s base, but it had failed and the army command had decided to redeploy to the area.
The Nigerian army, which has ensured that, since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, that it has regained control of northeastern Nigeria despite the increase in attacks, has carried out numerous raids on several jihadist bases in recent weeks.
The conflict between the Nigerian armed forces and Boko Haram has killed 35,000 people and displaced about two million people from their homes since 2009.
By CCEiT (AFP)