Several Nigerian soldiers were killed in an ambush on a military convoy near Gudumbali in the Lake Chad area of Borno state, sources said, after Islamic State claimed its fighters carried out two attacks in the area.
Islamic State West Africa Province fighters opened fire with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades on the convoy as it traveled to Gudumbali on Monday, September 9, the security sources told AFP.
One told AFP that “the terrorists surprised troops with an ambush as they were heading to Gudumbali.”
“We lost several soldiers, vehicles and weapons to the terrorists in the attack,” said the source, who asked not to be identified.
The convoy was travelling to Gudumbali to reinforce troops from Nigeria and Chad attached to the regional Multinational Joint Task Force for a major offensive to recapture the town from ISWAP, a second security source said.
He added that the losses had been great and that from reports coming in, the number of casualties was “huge.”
A third security source told AFP, “It is not precisely clear the number of casualties recorded in the attack but a number paid the supreme price.”
Reuters reported three soldiers and an official from a security agency as saying on Wednesday that nine soldiers were killed and 27 were missing after a Tuesday attack in Gudumbali.
Late Wednesday, a military officer who requested anonymity told AFP: “So far, nine bodies of soldiers were recovered. Twenty-seven soldiers are still missing and their fate remains unknown.”
Another military source confirmed the provisional death toll, adding that “search and rescue is ongoing.”
The MNJTF, which comprises personnel from Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, launched Operation Yancin Tafki in late February to battle insurgents in the Lake Chad area. It has said the cross-border operation is aimed at “making islands and other settlements in Lake Chad untenable for Boko Haram Terrorists.” MNJTF troops have engaged militants in Nigeria, Niger and Chad.
Islamic State earlier on Tuesday claimed fighters from its West Africa Province affiliate carried out two attacks in the area on Monday.
ISIS said ISWAP fighters ambushed a Nigerian army convoy between Damasak and Gudumbali, and struck another military position near the village of Garunda.
Gudumbali in Guzamala district is around 120 km (75 miles) north of Borno state capital Maiduguri, and around 20 km east of Garunda.
ISIS claimed “tens” were killed and wounded, three “trucks and armored vehicles” were destroyed and that nine vehicles, weapons and ammunition were captured.
ISIS propaganda agency Amaq on Wednesday released a series of images that it said showed an attack against Nigerian Army near Lake Chad. The images included a range of military vehicles it said were captured by ISWAP militants, including 4×4 trucks, an armored car, an armored personnel carrier and a large transport truck.
Images of the bodies of at least two military personnel were also released.
Later on Wednesday, Amaq released a video that it said showed an “ambush by fighters of the Islamic State the day before yesterday on a military column of the Nigerian Army near the village of Garnd [Garunda] in the Borno region of northern Nigeria.”
The images released earlier appear to be screenshots from the video, which included scenes of the battle.