Suspected Jihadists Kill 9 Soldiers, 2 Policemen and Civilians At The Nigeria Army Base Attack

Two Chadian soldiers have been killed by jihadists in the Lake Chad region, which has in recent years become a major hideout for the Boko Haram and Islamic State groups, President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno today.
Chadian soldiers gather at the Misca military base before leaving
| Photo Credit: africanews

Jihadists have attacked an army base and a town in northeast Nigeria killing nine soldiers, two policemen and civilians, security sources and residents said Sunday in the latest violence in the region.

On late Friday and earlier on Saturday,  fighters from Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) riding trucks fitted with machine guns stormed the town of Malam Fatori, in the Abadam district.

The first attack was made near the Niger border leading to a fierce battle with soldiers who repelled the assault, said resident Buji Garwa.

They attacked the military base and engaged troops in a fight while a second group went on a killing spree and arson in the town,” said the officer who asked not to be identified. 

Before dawn, attack on the base and the town on Saturday, the jihadists hurled explosives and killed residents, while others drowned in a river trying to flee.

Two security sources said on Sunday nine soldiers and two policemen were killed in the base attack.

“The number of casualties sustained in the base is 11, including nine soldiers and two mobile policemen working alongside troops,” a military officer said.

“We lost nine soldiers and two policemen from the base. It is still not clear how many civilians were killed inside the town,” said the second security source.

“It is not clear how many people were killed because we all fled the town and are now gradually returning to assess the damage,” Garwa said, adding much of the town had been set ablaze.

“We have started combing the bushes and picking (up) bodies of those killed and searching along the river banks to find those washed to the shores,” he said.

Another resident, Baitu Madari, said she had counted a dozen people killed in her neighbourhood.

“I have no idea of the number of the dead bodies recovered in other parts of town. The destruction is huge,” she said.

According to an intelligence officer, the attackers came from nearby Kamuya village.

“Kamuya is the largest ISWAP camp in the Lake Chad area which is just eight kilometres (five miles) from Malam Fatori,” the source said.

“All the previous unsuccessful attacks on Malam Fatori were launched from Kamuya which is well fortified with mines and heavy weapons,” he added.

Malam Fatori, 200 kilometres from the regional capital Maiduguri, on the fringes of Lake Chad, was seized by Boko Haram jihadists in 2014 but clawed back by the military in 2015. 

A base was established in the town to repel attacks from ISWAP, which split from Boko Haram in 2016 and turned Lake Chad into a bastion.

In March, thousands of people who fled to Maiduguri and into neighbouring Niger were returned to Malam Fatori on Borno state government orders, despite concern by aid agencies.

The jihadist conflict which broke out in 2009 has killed over 40,000 people and displaced around two million.

The violence has spilt into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military force to fight the insurgents.

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