At least 70 Nigerian soldiers were killed by jihadists in an ambush on their convoy in the restive northeast, said the military and security forces on Tuesday.
A member of a government-backed militia fighting the jihadists told AFP that the convoy had left regional capital Maiduguri on its way to launch an offensive on a camp belonging to jihadists associated with the Islamic State group in the area.
Two military officers also spoke to AFP saying the terrorists fired rocket-propelled grenades(RPGs) at a lorry carrying troops as it traveled in a village near Borno state on Monday.
“It was a huge loss, at least 70 soldiers have perished in the ambush,” one of the officers said.
“The terrorists specifically targeted a truck loaded with soldiers with RPGs and incinerated the vehicle, killing all on board,” a second officer said.
According to the two officers, several soldiers were injured and some taken captive by the jihadists.
“So far 70 bodies have been recovered but the toll is certainly more than that as rescue operations is still underway.”
The Islamic State West Africa Province split from Boko Haram insurgents in 2016 and has focused on attacking troops, raiding bases and laying ambush on military convoys.
They have been accused of increasing attacks on civilians and taking hostages at fake checkpoints on the region’s main roads.
The decade-long conflict has also spilt over the order in to neighboring countries prompting the formation of a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.