KANO, Nigeria (AFP) — At least 70 Nigerian soldiers were killed in an ambush on their convoy by jihadist fighters in the restive northeast, military and security sources said Tuesday.
Insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades at a lorry carrying troops as it traveled near Gorgi village in Borno state Monday, two military officers told AFP without giving their names.
“It was a huge loss, at least 70 soldiers have perished in the ambush,” one officer said.
“The terrorists specifically targeted a truck loaded with soldiers with RPGs and incinerated the vehicle, killing all on board,” the second officer said.
“So far 70 bodies have been recovered, but the toll is certainly more than that, as rescue operation is still under way.”
Several soldiers were injured and others taken captive by the jihadists, the officers said.
A spokesman for the Nigerian army said he was unable to comment on the attack.
The convoy had left regional capital Maiduguri on its way to launch an offensive on a camp belonging to jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State group, a member of a government-backed militia fighting the insurgents told AFP.
The Islamic State West Africa Province faction split from the Boko Haram terrorist group in 2016 and has focused on attacking troops, raiding bases and ambushing military convoys.
The group has been accused of increasing attacks on civilians and taking hostages at bogus checkpoints on main roads in the region.
The decade-long conflict has killed 36,000 people and displaced 1.8 million in the northeast of Nigeria.
Fighting has spilled over the border into neighboring countries, prompting the formation of a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.
© Agence France-Presse