As news filtered out about the onslaught against Nigerian Troops over the weekend by Boko Haram insurgents belonging to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction, the group has officially claimed responsibility for the attacks saying its fighters killed 42 Nigerian Soldiers in the process.
This was revealed by an intelligence group SITE which monitors Jihadist activities across the world. According to the group, ISWAP claimed to have killed 42 Nigerian Soldiers in the attacks at Metele and Mainok over the weekend.
Boko haram also claimed to have carted away four tanks as well as other vehicles and tons of ammunition.
According to AFP, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Military, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu refused to confirm or deny the attacks on Nigerian Troops over the weekend.
Attacks on Nigerian Military bases have increased in recent months amidst claims that the military under-report casualties among its troops to the general public.
ISWAP, which split from the Abubakar Shekau-led faction in mid-2016, also claimed another attack on a base in Kareto, 150 km north of Maiduguri, last Wednesday.
The attacks have been seen as a sign of a hardline takeover in the faction by more radical lieutenants and have stretched the army at a time when Nigerian troops on the frontline are complaining of fatigue.
More than 27,000 people are thought to have been killed in the nine-year insurgency that has triggered a humanitarian crisis and left 1.8 million people without homes.
Despite the increase in attacks on troops, towns and villages, the Nigerian Government continues to insist that Boko haram had been defeated and degraded and as such is unable to carry out such attacks.
President Buhari was elected in 2015 as he promised to end the insurgency within six months of his presidency.
Three and a half years and another election cycle later, the President says he has fulfilled this promise by ‘technically’ defeating the terrorist while seeking a second term in office.