Boko Haram fighters aboard dozens of vehicles raided a base near a key city in northeast Nigeria, in their latest assault on the security forces, police and a local militia said Friday.
Following the attack, the Nigerian army announced a “major” redeployment of senior officers, naming a new commander to lead counter-insurgency operations against the jihadists.
It was the third commander to be named for the military operation in the space of a year.
The Islamists late Thursday stormed a base on the outskirts of Jakana, a village 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
They then sacked and burned down a police station before fleeing, local militia said. “Yesterday at about 1742 hours, Boko Haram terrorists in about 30 vehicles launched (an) attack on Jakana,” Borno state police spokesman Edet Okon said in a short statement.
“The police combat units were deployed for reinforcement. The insurgents were successfully repelled by security forces,” Okon said without giving details on casualties. Local militia leader Babakura Kolo said the attackers took over the base for “more than an hour” before reinforcements arrived from Maiduguri.
“They (Boko Haram) took control of the military base after overpowering soldiers and burned down the police station,” he said. “Details of casualties are still sketchy but the bodies of two policemen and a civilian were recovered while nine residents were injured from stray bullets.”
The attack comes just two weeks after the jihadists overran a military base in nearby Yobe state and ambushed troops near the group’s Sambisa forest stronghold.
On July 14, jihadists believed to be loyal to Boko Haram factional leader Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, raided a base in Jilli village. Dozens of troops were said to have been killed or missing.
The day before, 23 troops went missing after a military convoy was ambushed by fighters in the Bama area of Borno state, where the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram is strong.
The attacks underline the threat Boko Haram still poses despite repeated military claims the group has been defeated.
© Agence France-Presse