The Nigerian Army says troops of its ‘Operation Tura Takaibango’ have killed at least 25 members of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Marte, Borno State, the epicentre of the insurgency in the Northeast.
Marte, an agrarian town on the western coast of Lake Chad, and about 130 kilometres from the state capital, Maiduguri, has come under frequent attacks in recent time.
In Feb., ISWAP, a splinter faction of the Abubakar Shekau led Boko Haram, dislodged the army base and overran Marte.
A statement on Wednesday by Mohammed Yerima, the Army’s spokesperson, stated that Tuesday’s firefight took place in Chikun Gudu, Kirenowa and environs in Marte Local Government.
According to Yerima, a Brig-Gen., the operation was based on the earlier directive given by Ibrahim Attahiru, the Chief of Army Staff to troops in Dikwa, to recapture Marte and clear adjoining villages which include Chikun Gudu, Kirenowa, and environs.
He explained that the clearance operation by troops of Sector I Operation Lafiya Dole and 402 Special Forces Brigade led to the recovery of a cache of arms and ammunition including “two Browning machine guns, 20 AK-47 rifles, five FN rifles, two 60mm mortar tubes, and two general-purpose machine guns”.
The troops also recovered three anti-aircraft guns, two automatic grenade launchers, two gun trucks, and one Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) Hilux most likely seized from the civilian militia, Yerima added.
Since the split, ISWAP has intensified attacks on military bases, while also ambushing soldiers.
For more than a decade, the Nigerian military has battled the insurgency that has killed at least 37,000 people and has displaced more than two million people in the Northeast region, according to a global conflict tracker by Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
The violence has since spread to neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad, leading to the formation of a regional military force to fight the insurgents.