The battle against insurgency suffered yet another setback after Boko Haram invaded a military base in Borno state on Monday.
At least 28 soldiers were reportedly killed while the insurgents ransacked the military base in Gajiram, Nganzai local government area of the state.
A military source, who confirmed the attack to TheCable, described it as one of the deadliest in 2019.
He said it is believed to have been coordinated by the faction of Boko Haram being controlled by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).
He said the insurgents carted away ammunition, seized military trucks and abducted some of his colleagues.
“It looks as if ISIS has taken a new interest in our country. The way these people have been taking us on is surprising,” the source said.
“This Monday attack was very serious. We fought for more than three hours before we ran out of ammunition. They used that opening to kill our many and seize many weapons.
“Many of our soldiers were taken hostage by the terrorists who did not touch anybody in the community because we were their target. They only looted foodstuf.”
Another source said the corpses of 15 soldiers were recovered on the spot while the rest were found after the insurgents had left.
He said some of the deceased officers died while fleeing the attack.
The source added that at 9pm on Monday, a reinforcement team from Monguno, still in Borno, was sent to evacuate the remains of the soldiers.
Musa Sagir, army spokesman, is yet to respond to TheCable’s inquiries on the attack which could have prompted Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, to blame soldiers for Boko Haram attacks.
Speaking at a programme in Abuja on the morning after the tragic incident, Buratai warned those who were not committed to the army to leave or be shown the way out.