MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — At least eight Nigerian soldiers were killed in Monguno, a town in the country’s northeast, after extremists staged a deadly attack, according to a witness.
Members of the Islamic State, West African Province ambushed a convoy of travelers being escorted by soldiers near a military checkpoint at the entrance to Monguno, according to an employee of a non-governmental organization who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to speak to the press.
The group claimed the suicide bombing and subsequent clash, according to SITE Intelligence Group.
The attack started late Tuesday the evening, and soldiers and travelers had to flee into the bush surrounding Monguno amid heavy gunfire.
A group of soldiers repelled the insurgents who attempted to invade the town.
About 300 shelters built by the International Committee of the Red Cross were burned down after a rocket-propelled grenade landed in the camp. It was not clear who shot the RPG.
The attack comes after Chadian troops who are part of the Multinational Joint Task Force withdrew from Borno some days ago. There are worries that more attacks will be carried out against key targets in the state.
On Saturday, six soldiers were killed in an attack by Boko Haram near Jakana, a town 45 kilometers (28 miles) away from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, according to Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi. He called for the evacuation of Jakana and another village, Mainok.
Nigeria’s President Muhammad Buhari had on Tuesday told citizens not to panic over the withdrawal of the Chadian troops.
The military has not yet officially commented on the soldiers’ deaths in the attack on Monguno.