Fighters of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (Iswap) have killed at least 13 Nigerian soldiers and six members of vigilante groups in an ambush.
The attack on the convoy of the soldiers and the assisting local vigilante members took place on Friday in New Marte, North East Borno state, the epicentre of terrorism.
The jihadists are reported to have struck the convoy of the military with home-made bombs laid on the road leading from Marte to Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
Local media reports say one of the military vehicles stepped on the IED and the terrorists, who were hiding near the spot, opened fire at the other convoys, leading to the deaths of the soldiers and local security vigilantes who were part of the convoy.
Well-armed Nigerian troops had on September 23, 2021 successfully repelled attempted attacks by Iswap on a military base in Malam Fatori, Borno State.
The terrorists who came in gun trucks and motorcycles were subdued by troops who killed some of them and forced others to retreat.
The soldiers also repelled another attempted attack by Iswap in Babangida village in Yobe state, also in north east Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Defence Bashir Magashi said everything must be done to harness the rich intellectual and professional potential among security agencies to secure Nigeria from insurgency.
Magashi said this during a roundtable meeting on the crisis situation in Afghanistan and its implications for Nigeria and Africa. The meeting was organised by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC) on Friday in Abuja in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser and the National Defence College.
According to him, Nigeria has every reason to express concern with the proliferation of terrorist groups in Africa, especially around the Sahel region.
He said that such worries might not be out of place based on the activities of terrorists and insurgent groups such as the Boko Haram and Iswap operating in parts of the country along with other criminal elements for some years.
He said that in spite of the commendable efforts of the Nigerian troops in the ongoing fight and living up to expectations, the country must not rest on its oars.
He added that terrorism, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping, among other vices currently confronting Nigeria, must be looked at holistically.