Thirteen Nigerian soldiers were wounded in clashes with the Islamist militant group Boko Haram and several others are missing.

Islamist militant group Boko Haram has launched a new attack at Gashigar, a town in the northeast’s Borno state, near the border with Niger. In the resulting clashes with Nigeria’s security forces 13 soldiers were wounded and several others have been reported missing.

Islamic State (IS), to which the Nigerian jihadists have pledged allegiance, said on Twitter that a total of 20 soldiers from Nigeria and neighboring Niger had been killed and many others were wounded. However Army spokesman Sani Usman has denied this.

Boko Haram has waged a seven-year insurgency in a bid to create a caliphate in the northeast where a strict interpretation of Islamic laws would be observed. During that time 15,000 people have been killed and two million displaced. The Nigerian army, aided by troops from neighboring countries, has, since early last year recaptured most of that territory. But the group still stages suicide bombings in the northeast, as well as in neighboring Niger and Cameroon.

Divisions within Boko Haram were exposed in August when a new leader of the group was announced by IS only for Abubakar Shekau, the Nigerian jihadist’s traditional figurehead, to reject the move in statements circulated on social media.

 

 

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