The Nigerian government has announced that it will take the first step towards the creation of a new state of the nation's military in the coming years, according to a new report released by the Nigerian Ministry of Defence on Wednesday.
The military unit was on patrol Monday in the village of Laayi, near the town of Damasak (not far from the border with Niger), when their vehicle exploded on contact with an improvised explosive device, Babakura Kolo, head of one of the local militias working with the government in the fight against jihadist groups, told AFP.
The attack left five people dead, according to Kolo, who presumed it was carried out by the Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap) group.
The previous night, jihadists attacked Laayi, kidnapping four residents including a local chief, and planted the explosive device when they retreated from the area, he said.
Details of the attack and its toll were confirmed by a second militia leader, Ibrahim Liman.
No immediate comment could be obtained from the army.
A jihadist insurgency has been raging for 14 years in northeastern Nigeria, where the Boko Haram and Iswap groups control swathes of the country and are ramping up attacks, a major challenge to newly elected President Bola Tinubu.
Last month, three soldiers were killed in a bomb blast targeting a military truck near the town of Banki, near the border with Cameroon. Four soldiers and seven civilians were also injured.
Fighting between the two rival jihadist factions has increased in recent months as the army has stepped up its offensive against the groups.
Since the start of the Boko Haram rebellion in 2009, the conflict has left more than 40,000 people dead and two million displaced in Nigeria, according to the UN. The violence has since spread to neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.