Many Soldiers Killed As Militants Sack Military Base. Burn, Loot Nigerian Town. militants militants have raided a town in restive northeast Nigeria, looting food supplies and burning homes after overwhelming troops on Thursday. The attack late on Wednesday happened in Magumeri, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.
It came after a lull in raids on major towns in the remote region following sweeping military offensives which Nigeria has claimed has severely weakened the militants to the point of defeat. Scores of militants fighters arrived in Magumeri at about 6:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) in vans, motorcycles and on foot, firing heavy weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, forcing residents to flee.
The deputy governor of Nigeria’s Borno state says many soldiers may have been killed after militants extremists attacked and burned down a military base. The deputy governor says a police officer was also killed and the hospital was looted of medicine.
Usman Mamman Durkwa spoke to journalists Thursday after visiting the scene of Wednesday night’s attack in Magumeri town.
Durkwa says at first officials heard two soldiers had died. But he said “when we got there today, we discovered the number of lives lost was far beyond that.” He says he can’t give a specific death toll.
Recently, Abubakar Shekau, the contested leader of Nigeria’s militants terror group, has purportedly appeared in a video rejecting claims dozens of his fighters had been killed. In what could be his first appearance in months, Shekau criticized the Cameroonian government – part of an anti-terrorism coalition – for claiming the army had killed scores of fighters and freed thousands of hostages.
“We fought along the Cameroonian border. You lied that you killed 60 of our fighters, that you arrested 20 of our men, that you freed 5,000 of your people. [Cameroon’s President] Paul Biya, is it that you can’t live off lies? Is it with this that you are going to convince the West, your leaders? It is unfortunate. Be careful, Paul Biya,” the militant continued.
Shekau – who spoke in the local languages Hausa and Kanuri, as well as Arabic – said he was “in good health”, contrary to claims he had been injured during fighting against the Nigerian army and its allies. He added the group’s “caliphate is running smoothly”.
The footage comes days after Shekau’s faction is believed to have released an execution video. The footage shows militants killing three men accused of being military spies.
The video follows the Nigerian army’s repeated claims that the fight against the campainers, blamed for the death of thousands of people, was over.