Boko Haram attacks military base in Nigeria

KANO, Nigeria (AFP) – Boko Haram fighters attacked a military base in remote northeast Nigeria, setting fire to shelters for those made homeless by the conflict, military and humanitarian sources told AFP yesterday.

The attack in Rann, some 175 kilometres northeast of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, began late on Monday afternoon and forced civilians to flee.

It followed a pattern by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction of Boko Haram that has called into question government claims the group is virtually defeated.

A similar attempt was made to take over a military base in Magumeri, 50 kilometres northwest of Maiduguri, last Sunday, a local community leader said.

Rann currently hosts some 35,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), according to the International Organisation for Migration. It has been repeatedly hit in the conflict, exacerbating already dire humanitarian conditions on the ground.

A military source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, said the attack began at about 5.20pm (1620 GMT) on Monday.

“The terrorists took over a military position in Rann following heavy fighting,” he said on condition of anonymity.