Four members of the Nigerian security forces were killed Tuesday in an ambush set by jihadists in northeastern Nigeria, anti-jihadist militias said on Wednesday.
The jihadists, affiliated with the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP), attacked a team of soldiers and anti-jihadist militiamen who were heading on motorbikes towards the town of Monguno, located 140 km from the capital Maiduguri of Borno State, two militias said.
"ISWAP terrorists ambushed the patrol team and opened fire on them in Lingir village, leading to a shootout. There were so many of them that the team had to flee," it said. Musa Kaka, leader of an anti-jihadist militia in Monguno.
“Two soldiers and two anti-jihadist militiamen were killed in the fighting and several were injured,” he added.
The jihadist insurgency which has lasted for 14 years in Nigeria is one of the main security challenges facing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who came to power last May and who notably promised to put an end to this violence in the northeast.
Even if the intensity of jihadist abuses has gradually decreased in recent years, ISWAP, which seceded from Boko Haram in 2016, still remains active in the Lake Chad region where it regularly clashes with its former group.
ISWAP regularly carries out attacks in rural areas on the Maiduguri-Monguno highway, killing and kidnapping motorists, as well as periodic deadly incursions into Monguno against soldiers and anti-jihadist militias.
In recent days, its fighters have ordered residents of villages along the highway between the towns of Gubio, Damasak, Layi, Jamu, and Kinsari to leave their homes, according to Musa Kaka.
The jihadist insurgency in Nigeria has left 40,000 dead and more than two million displaced.