Militants from the Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), formerly known as Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād, have released pictures of 15 soldiers killed by the group during an ambush on Nigerian soldiers in Monguno, Borno state.
This is contrary to a statement by the Nigerian army that four soldiers died in the attack.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima had on Monday said the encounters, which took place on the Tumbus of Lake Chad’s fringes, led to the destruction of the terrorists’ gun trucks and recovery of a large cache of arms and ammunition.
He added that the combined troops of Sector 2 advanced and cleared Daban Massara and Ali Sherifti villages among other settlements before they harboured for replenishment and retrofitting along the axis.
“In the course of the hot pursuit which was aided by air cover provided by the Air Task Team of Operation Lafia Dole, several terrorists were neutralised and their gun trucks destroyed.
“Unfortunately, however, one officer and three gallant soldiers paid the supreme sacrifices while those wounded in action are currently receiving medical attention at 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital in Maimalari Cantonment.
“Above is an on-the-spot account of the encounter between Nigerian troops and the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in Mugono area and environs,” he had said.
But ISWAP in a statement claimed 33 soldiers were killed by the group during the attack.
Attached to the statement were pictures showing about 15 bodies of dead soldiers.
The group also released pictures showing an abducted soldier and vehicles captured from the Nigerian army and Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).
Boko Haram and its offshoot, Islamic State West Africa Province, have killed thousands and displaced millions in northeastern Nigeria.
The Nigerian military has repeatedly claimed that the insurgency has been largely defeated and frequently underplays any losses.
In the past months, soldiers have been targeted by the insurgents.
Hundreds of soldiers and officers have been reportedly killed since January 2021.
At least 33 soldiers were recently killed when two explosive-laden vehicles rammed into a military convoy in Wulgo.
The suicide bombers were identified as Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and Bana Jundullah. The group also claimed four military vehicles were destroyed.
In February, about 20 soldiers were also killed in Malari, Borno State by the insurgents.
SaharaReporters gathered that the soldiers were on patrol to clear some Boko Haram elements in the area following a credible intelligence when they were ambushed by the group.