Militants of the Takfiri terrorist group Boko Haram captured a town in northern Nigeria for several hours before being repelled by a massive army deployment.
A Nigerian military source said Sunday that Boko Haram militants had launched a “huge invasion” on the town of Magumeri, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Saturday evening before being pushed out by reinforcements that were deployed to the region.
“Reinforcements were later deployed and they engaged the terrorists, pushing them out of the town, which is now under the full control of the Nigerian military,” said the source on condition of anonymity.
He said the attack was allegedly a work of a faction of Boko Haram which is based in the Lake Chad region and led by Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi, a figure supported by Daesh Takfiri group.
A vigilante force in Magumeri said residents who had fled the town to nearby bushes returned to their homes after troops took control.
“This is a classic Boko Haram attack: to loot supplies and assert their presence,” said the vigilante fighter from Nigeria’s Civilian Joint Task Force, adding, “Even if troops hadn’t deployed they would have withdrawn after looting and destruction.”
3 soldiers killed, six wounded
The military said in a Sunday statement that three soldiers were killed and another six others were wounded in the clashes in Magumeri.
Colonel Timothy Antigha, a spokesman for 8 Task Force Division Nigerian Army, said the casualties came during an initial confrontation between soldiers and militants in a forward operating base in Magumeri.
“The troops fought gallantly. Unfortunately, three soldiers lost their lives while six others sustained injuries,” Antigha said.
Boko Haram has yet to claim the attack, the latest in a string of smash-and-grab raids by the group which experts say are meant to obtain food and supplies.
More than 20,000 have been killed and over 2.5 million have been displaced in almost eight years of insurgency by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Nigerian authorities claim the group has “technically” been defeated as a result of a massive operation that began in early 2015. However, civilians and security forces in northern Nigeria are still targeted in sporadic attacks. At least 50 people were killed this week in the town of Mubi in Adamawa state when a teenage recruit of Boko Haram detonated his explosives inside a mosque crowded by the Muslims.