Palpable fear has gripped the people living in some communities of Borno state as Boko Haram/ Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP, terrorists attacked a Military Base in Auno, killing six Nigerian soldiers.
Army sources Sunday told AFP that tighters came in trucks fitted with machine guns attacked the base in Auno, a village that is 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
“We lost six soldiers in the attacks which the terrorists launched around 6:30 pm (1730 GMT), on Saturday,” a military officer said.
The army declined to comment on the incident.
The insurgents overwhelmed the troops during the two-hour battle, “forcing them to withdraw in disarray,” said another military source who gave a similar toll.
The insurgents then looted weapons and burnt buildings before they were pushed out with aerial support, the sources said.
“A search is ongoing for 45 soldiers who are still unaccounted for but we assume they escaped during the attack and are yet to return,” the second source said.
DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that during the attack that lasted for almost two hours, the insurgents had had a field day, carting away weapons, foodstuff and fuel.
With this attack, a source said, the insurgents would now be emboldened to launch many attacks on the communities without fear of running out of logistics.
A resident of Auno, who spoke with DAILY NIGERIAN on phone, expressed his fear that the Military would not be able to secure them, saying that virtually half of the soldiers in the base had to scamper for their safety during the raid.
Auno lies on a 120-kilometre highway linking Maiduguri and Damaturu in neighbouring Yobe state. The area has been repeatedly targeted by militants who attack troops and abduct motorists at bogus checkpoints.
ISWAP, which split from Boko Haram in 2016, focuses on attacking the military but it has also been accused of increasingly targeting civilians. In February, the group killed at least 30 travellers who had stopped for the night in Auno during a night time curfew.
The decade-long conflict has killed 36,000 people and displaced 1.8 million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.
The violence has also spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting the creation of a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.