Kano, Nigeria, Nov 7 (AFP/APP): At least 10 Nigerian soldiers have been killed and nine severely injured in an ambush by jihadists in restive northeast Nigeria, military sources said Thursday.
Another 12 soldiers were missing after a column of troops on patrol was ambushed by the fighters on Wednesday in Damboa district of Borno state, a military officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Fighters loyal to the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the killings, but said they had slain 22 soldiers after an assault by the army.
A decade-long jihadist insurgency in northeast Nigeria has killed 35,000 people, displaced two million others and spilt into neighbouring countries.
“We lost 10 troops in the intense fighting with the terrorists who ambushed our soldiers conducting a clearance operation in the area,” said the officer, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak about the incident.
“Nine soldiers were injured and 12 are still missing.”
The troops came under attack while returning to their base in Damboa, 88 kilometres (55 miles) from the state capital Maiduguri, said a second military officer who gave the same casualty toll.
Soldiers were forced to withdraw after an hour-long battle in which nine jihadists were also killed, said the second source.
The source said militants burnt five military vehicles and took away a pickup truck along with six machine guns.