At least three soldiers were killed and several missing after a Boko Haram attack on a military base in northeastern Borno state, military and militia sources told AFP Thursday.
Boko Haram fighters believed to be from the IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province late Wednesday attacked the base in the town of Kareto, 150 kilometres (about 90 miles) north of the state capital Maiduguri.
The militants temporarily dislodged troops from the base before being repelled with aerial support, the sources said.
“We lost three soldiers in the fight and several others are still missing,” a military officer in Maiduguri told AFP.
“The terrorists were smoked out of the base by a fighter jet which was deployed to the scene,” said the officer who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.
Troop reinforcements were sent to the base, the officer said. It was not clear if the jihadists took away weapons.
A civilian militia fighting Boko Haram in the area said troops withdrew to the town of Gubio, 60 km away, while Kareto residents fled across the border into Niger.
“The bodies of three soldiers were recovered after the attack,” said the militia who preferred not to be identified.
“More troops have arrived in Kareto but most residents have not returned,” he said.
It was the second attack on the military base in two years.
In April 2016, a Boko Haram raid left 24 soldiers wounded, according to military authorities.
Boko Haram jihadists late Wednesday also attacked Mammanti village, just outside Maiduguri, killing one person and burning the entire village before stealing hundreds of cattle, the local chief of the village and residents said.
“The insurgents came around 11:00 pm (2200 GMT) and opened indiscriminate fire,” Muhammad Mammanti, a resident, said.
“They killed one person and burnt the whole village and stole our cattle,” Mammanti said.
Earlier in the day a group of jihadists abducted seven women while working on a farm near the town of Bama, 70 km from Maiduguri, after killing their male escort, militia sources said.
Boko Haram has stepped up attacks on farmers and loggers in recent years, accusing them of passing information on the group to the military.
Despite the government’s insistence that the group is near defeat, Boko Haram has recently carried out major attacks on military and civilian targets, killing scores.
More than 27,000 people have died since the start of the insurgency in the remote northeast in 2009 and 1.8 million are still homeless.