ISWAP claims death of 15 Nigerian troops

Despite the Nigerian Army’s denial of the death of its personnel in the hands of the Islamic State in West Africa Province last weekend, the terror group said on its Amaq News Agency that its fighters killed Nigerian soldiers and also captured three vehicles belonging to the Nigerian military.

Reports in the Nigerian media claimed 25 soldiers were killed on Saturday when the insurgents attacked a military convoy evacuating civilians on Damboa-Biu Road.

ISWAP said on Sunday night that it killed three civilians suspected to be members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Kanamma, Yobe State, and 15 troops near Sabon Gari in Borno State.

30 Chadian and five Cameroonian soldiers were also killed about the same period.

But an army spokesman told the Nigerian News Agency the reports of the attack was “fake news”.

“Contrary to rumour and fake news circulating, there was no attack on any of our troops’ locations at Sabon Gari or any other locations in Borno State,” Musa Sagir told NAN.

“I have spoken with the Special Force Commander in Damboa and he confirmed to me that there was nothing of such in Damboa or any of his locations as at Friday and Saturday.”

“A Polish independent researcher Tomasz Rolbiecki told The Guardian that gory evidence published by ISIS news agency – Amaq – makes the Army sound “less credible”.

One of the pictures published by ISWAP and seen by The Guardian is marked May 25, 2019.

“Since ISWAP did indeed claim responsibility for the ambush, it makes the Nigerian Army look foolish, even more, if we see the photos as a proof,” he told The Guardian.

As President Muhammadu Buhari begins another four-year term on Wednesday, reining in the growing confidence of ISWAP, which has focused its attention on attacking military formations in the northeast, is one of the must-do tasks.

Critics said the initial gains made by the government are now being eroded by lethal attacks.

These attacks came after the government and the military claimed, at different times, that the terrorists have been defeated or technically degraded.