Scores of both Boko Haram and Islamic State West African Province fighters have been killed after a battle of supremacy broke out between the two factions.
SaharaReporters learnt that the ISWAP faction attacked the Boko Haram camp in Sunawa village on the Nigerian-Niger border and re-abducted Nigerian captives with the Boko Haram, leading to the gun battle.
It was not clear yet whether some captives were also killed in the crossfire between the two terrorist factions.
Some Chibok schoolgirls, the abducted United Nations worker, Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu are among the captives believed to still be with the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of the Boko Haram in Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen Muhammed Yerima, in a release on Monday also confirmed the clash, adding that “the battle occurred after ISWAP abducted dozens of women linked to Boko Haram.”
He said, “A fierce battle between Abubakar Shekau-led Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province broke out and has led to the death of many of their fighters. The incident which took place in a border area between Nigeria and the Niger Republic was revealed by Al Thabat, an al-Qaida affiliated media outfit.
“Al Thabat, in a statement, said Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad, commonly known as Boko Haram, killed ISWAP insurgents in the village of Sunawa on the Nigeria-Niger border. The battle occurred after ISWAP abducted dozens of women linked to Boko Haram. The group subsequently attacked the ISWAP base and rescued the women.
“It will be recalled that ISWAP broke off from the Shekau-led Boko Haram in 2016, and since then, a bitter war of attrition and violent confrontations between both factions have been recurrent. This incident has once again exposed the disorganised and disoriented nature of these criminals.”
The army spokesman said that the military would continue to dismantle all logistics and operational bases of the insurgents along the Lake Chad Basin axis and Sambisa forest area.
“The troops in one of its operations along Sambisa forest discovered and destroyed Abubakar Shekau’s farm and rescued abducted victims.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to use this medium to reassure Nigerians of the determination of troops to clear the remnant terrorists out of the Nigerian territory,” he added.