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Army: Nigerian troops foil Boko Haram attack on base

Scores of soldiers have been killed, injured or missing in attacks but the military has repeatedly denied or played down losses to the jihadists.

FILE: A Boko Haram flag. Picture: AFP.

KANO - Nigerian troops have foiled an attempt by Boko Haram fighters to overrun a military base in the restive northeast leaving six soldiers wounded, the army said on Saturday.

Troops “successfully repelled (a) Boko Haram terrorist attack” on a base in the town of Arge in Borno state on Friday, army spokesperson Texas Chukwu said in a statement.

“Several members of the Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised while others fled with gunshot wounds during the encounter,” he said.

“Unfortunately, six soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries and are currently receiving medical attention at the military facility.”

Chukwu said three Boko Haram trucks were destroyed and one other vehicle recovered in the latest attack in the area.

On 29 August, IS-affiliated Boko Haram jihadists claimed to have killed “several” Nigerian soldiers in mortar strikes on the Arge military base. The claim could not be independently verified.

Boko Haram’s Islamic State group-backed faction - known as the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) - operates in the Lake Chad region and has in recent months intensified attacks on military bases in Borno and nearby Yobe state.

The attacks are a sign of a hardline takeover in ISWAP by more radical lieutenants who executed the group’s de facto leader because of his opposition to indiscriminate killings and willingness to hold peace talks with the government.

Scores of soldiers have been killed, injured or missing in attacks but the military has repeatedly denied or played down losses to the jihadists.

On Monday, the Islamists attacked a military base in Metele near the border with Niger, leaving seven soldiers dead, according to the military.

But civilian militia sources said 18 soldiers were killed in that attack and several weapons stolen or destroyed by the jihadists.

More than 27,000 people are thought to have been killed in the nine-year Boko Haram Islamist insurgency that has triggered a humanitarian crisis and left 1.8 million people without homes.

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