Several Nigerian Army soldiers have been killed in a fierce battle with Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters in New Marte in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria.
Reports revealed that the area’s situation was still fluid while its military base was dislodged.
At least one officer and an unknown number of soldiers were killed during the battle.
The attack came a month after ISWAP in Jan. conducted a daring raid on a military base located in the abandoned Lake Chad basin quarters in New Marte and subsequently entered the facility after troops withdrew.
Military reinforcements and combat aircraft participated in a counter-assault against the ISWAP fighters, which destroyed their gun trucks and killed many of them.
Civilians caught in the crossfire were reported to have fled Marte towards the garrison town of Dikwa.
The attack on the military base in Jan. happened a few days after ISWAP targeted the same command in a smaller-scale attack, in what appeared like an attempt to probe the defence of the base.
It was learnt that New Marte was a safe location for troops and civilians because Old Marte is still a hot zone and out of bounds to civilians and security forces.
This series of attacks in Marte are also coming on the heels of the Borno State Government relocation of about 300 households to New Marte.
The government’s interest in returning IDPs to Marte is due to the area’s economic and agricultural importance and part of the state efforts to decongest Internally Displaced Person camps.
However, the security of resettlement towns in Northern Borno will be a significant challenge due to the activities of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).