Aid groups in Nigeria said Wednesday six civilians died in a suspected jihadist attack on a northeastern town that, according to the UN, “directly targeted” aid facilities.
A military source told AFP that fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), which split from mainstream Boko Haram in 2016, were behind the assault on the town of Dikwa that began late on Monday.
“At least six civilians lost their lives in the crossfire, several others were injured and are still missing,” the Nigeria INGO Forum, gathering 54 international charities, said in a statement.
According to the coalition of NGOs, there was a second attack on Tuesday.
Two security sources and a humanitarian source who requested anonymity told AFP that the insurgents were able to take control of the town for several hours between Monday evening and mid-day Tuesday.
Dikwa hosts one of the military’s large “super camps” as well as one of nine “humanitarian hubs” — where humanitarians live and work.
Both were attacked, multiple sources said, but the Nigerian army claimed it “repelled” the attackers.
“The terrorist groups who stormed the town in an unconfirmed number of gun trucks and motorcycles were visited with heavy bombardment and overwhelming firepower,” army spokesman Mohammed Yerima said in a statement on Tuesday.
Last week, ISWAP fighters on board several trucks fitted with machine guns had already raided Dikwa, dislodging troops from the military base and sending residents fleeing.