At least 15 Nigerian soldiers killed by militants in Borno state

File Photo: Soldiers and policemen walk past burnt house on February 4, 2016 during a visit to the village of Dalori village, some 12 kilometres from Borno state capital Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, after an attack by Boko Haram insurgents on the village left at least 85 people dead on January 30, 2016. / AFP / STRINGER(Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

At least 15 Nigerian soldiers were killed and 10 others were injured when Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) militants attacked a military convoy, security sources said on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers and policemen walk past burnt house during a visit to the village of Dalori village, some 12 kilometres from Borno state capital Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, after an attack by Boko Haram insurgents. (Photo credit STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

Four militants were also killed in the attack which happened on Thursday near Gudumbali in the Lake Chad region in the northeastern state of Borno. Another three government fighters were also injured in the ambush.

“We lost 15 soldiers and four civilian JTF (militia) in the terrorists’ ambush in the forest near Gudumbali,” a military officer, who requested to remain anonymous, told AFP.

According to another security source, who gave a similar death toll, the convoy of 10 vehicles was headed to Gudumbali from Kukawa town for a military operation against the militants when it was attacked.

ISWAP claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday, according the SITE jihadist monitoring agency.

Nigeria has been battling an insurgency by Boko Haram in the restive north and northeast regions for over a decade.

In 2016, the group split into two groups — the main faction and the Islamic State-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Both groups have been blamed for increasing attacks on civilians they accuse of spying for the army and pro-government militia.

The conflict has killed at least 36,000 people and left millions of others displaced in the northeast and the general Lake Chad Basin.