Boko Haram jihadists overran a military base in northeast Nigeria after a ferocious firefight, military and vigilante sources said Sunday , the second assault on the country ’ s forces in two days .The militants on Saturday evening invaded a base holding hundreds of soldiers in Yobe state — where they abducted over 100 girls from a school earlier this year — in an attack that lasted for hours , a military source told AFP on condition of anonymity .
“ Boko Haram terrorists attacked troops of the 81 Division Forward Brigade at Jilli village in Geidam district . The terrorists came in huge numbers around 7 : 30 pm ( 1830 GMT ) and overran the base after a fierce battle that lasted till 9 : 10 pm , ” said the military source .
“ The base had 734 troops . Currently the commander of the base and 63 soldiers have made it to Geidam ( 60 kilometres away) while the remaining 670 are being expected , ” he said .
“ We don’ t know if there were any casualties among the troops . That will be known later , ” he said , adding that the base was new and the troops had recently arrived from Lagos , the commercial capital.
A leader of a local anti – jihadist militia said that the soldiers sustained casualties , but was unable to give a toll , attributing the attack to the Abu – Mus ’ ab Al – Barnawi faction of Boko Haram , which is known for targeting Nigerian forces .
“ We learned that they drove from Lake Chad through Gubio ( in nearby Borno state ) and attacked the base , ” he said .
Geidam resident Fannami Gana said that Boko Haram jihadists “ overwhelmed ” the troops .
“ We don’ t know the details of what happened but we learnt they were overwhelmed by hundreds of Boko Haram gunmen , ” said Gana .
The attack on the base took place just days after Boko Haram fighters ambushed a military convoy in neighbouring Borno state on Friday.
23 soldiers are missing after the ambush , in which the Nigerian military also lost several vehicles .
The two attacks highlight the tenuous hold Nigerian forces have on the remote northeast region and the persistent threat of Boko Haram , despite claims from Muhammadu Buhari ’ s government the country is in a “ post- conflict stabilisation phase . ”
The former military ruler came to power three years ago on a promise to defeat Boko Haram , which is aligned to the Islamic State group and threatens security in the Lake Chad region.
But while there have been clear military gains since a counter – insurgency was launched in 2015 , suicide bombings and raids remain a constant threat , particularly to civilians .
( AFP )
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