Jihadist attacks kill five Nigerian security personnel
Jihadists aligned with the Islamic State group have killed five security personnel in three attacks in northeast Nigeria, sources said Wednesday.
In the first incident, truckloads of fighters from the Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) group attacked a military post in Tungushe, a village near the Borno state capital Maiduguri, killing a soldier and injuring another, a military officer told AFP.
"The terrorists attacked around 18:00 (on Monday), leading to a gun battle in which a soldier was killed and another one was injured," said the officer, who asked not to be identified.
He said two insurgents were killed while a gun truck was recovered along with weapons.
The militants withdrew and attacked troops in nearby Gajiganna, where they killed a second soldier and seized a gun truck, according to anti-jihadist militiaman Ibrahim Liman.
Tungushe, which lies 22km from Maiduguri, has been repeatedly targeted by ISWAP and fighters from the rival Boko Haram faction, attacking troops and raiding the village for food and livestock.
Around the same time on Monday, insurgents on motorcycles and in four trucks fitted with machine guns stormed into the town of Rann near the border with Cameroon, attacking troops and militia positions.
"We lost three of our colleagues in the Rann incident," Liman told AFP.
"Our consolation is that several terrorists were killed in the fight, including their commander, and one of their trucks was recovered," he said.
ISWAP on Tuesday issued a statement claiming responsibility for three attacks, including the ones in Tungushe and Rann, resulting in the "killing and wounding" of several troops and the burning of 20 public buildings.
The militants have recently stepped up deadly assaults in the restive northeast.
On Sunday, jihadists killed at least 30 people in an overnight raid on Auno village along the highway leading to Maiduguri where travellers had stopped to comply with a nighttime curfew.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday made a rare visit to Maiduguri to express his condolences over that attack and called for better cooperation with local communities to provide intelligence on the fighters.
The decade-long jihadist uprising has killed 36 000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.
The military has repeatedly claimed that the insurgency has largely been defeated but attacks against civilians and soldiers continue on a near daily basis.
The army last year launched a new strategy that saw it withdraw troops from remote bases into larger so-called "super camps".
The military says the tactic has helped to stem jihadist violence but local residents and aid workers say it appears to have bolstered the jihadists by leaving vast swathes of territory unprotected.