Suspected members of the Boko Haram early Saturday attacked the base of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNJTF, in Baga, Borno State, eventually dislodging the soldiers, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
A senior security official who confirmed the incident to journalists in Maiduguri, the state capital, said the attack was one of the fiercest in recent times as soldiers battled to hold their grounds without much success.
According to a the official who spoke on condition of anonymity, the attack on the base started at about 5 a.m. on Saturday.
“We got the information that Boko Haram insurgents went and dislodged the Multinational Joint Task Force there, after a fierce gun battle that lasted for hours,” the official said. “For now, all we can say is that it was a bad outing for the soldiers because the base was practically dislodged but one cannot say specifically the extent of damaged caused on the base and personnel”.
The MNJTF was created by defense and military chiefs from the six countries that make up the Lake Chad Basin Commission to combat arms trafficking, terrorism and related cross-border attacks that have continued to rise in the region.
Boko Haram terrorists had seen the existence of the MNJTF as a major threat to their operations, hence they continued to attack the base and the town with a view to having full control of the area.
In the last two years, Baga has suffered five major attacks with high casualty – the latest was that of November 2014 when Boko Haram terrorists ambushed fishermen returning from a night fishing expedition and slit the throats of 43 of them.
Details of the damage done in the Saturday attack is still sketchy even as residents of neighbouring village of Monguno who reportedly heard the gunshots and explosions echoing in their neighborhood fled to Maiduguri for safety.
The military is expected to release a statement soon on the attack.