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Northeastern Nigeria fighting with militants leaves 12 soldiers dead

The undated photo shows Nigerian troops patrolling the streets of the town of Baga in the northeastern state of Borno.

At least 12 Nigerian soldiers have been killed and dozens of others have gone missing following clashes with Takfiri militants in the northeastern state of Borno.

Three unnamed military sources told media outlets Sunday that the attack targeted a military base and a nearby community in the Gudumbali local government area.

The fighting followed an attack on Friday by militants in the troubled area, where a splinter group of Boko Haram called "Daesh in West Africa" is influential. The poor communication network in the remote area delayed the relay of the details of the attack. The army officially said it had repelled the attack, in which it said one soldier was killed and another was injured. Militants opened fire on troops while aid materials were being distributed in Gudumbali. "The troops, however, fought gallantly and outmanoeuvred the attackers inflicting heavy casualties on them. Unfortunately, a soldier paid the supreme price during the encounter, while another was wounded in action," the statement read.

In late November, about 100 soldiers were killed by Daesh Takfiri terrorists who attacked an army base in Metele, Borno.

Nigeria's northeastern region has been plagued by the terrorist activities of Boko Haram and a Daesh affiliate, which broke away in 2016 and is now considered by security experts as the stronger of the two.

The Abuja government in June ordered thousands of people who fled the conflict with Boko Haram to return to Gudumbali, one of the most dangerous northeastern areas. Officials cut off food and other aid to those who refused.

Since 2009, militants have killed at least 20,000 dead and made over 2.6 million others homeless. In 2015, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Daesh.

President Muhammadu Buhari's security record has become a campaign issue two months ahead of an election in which he is seeking a second term. Buhari, a former general, came to power in 2015 on a platform of stamping out Boko Haram. But despite retaking swathes of territory from the group, Boko Haram continues to stage attacks targeting both civilians and military personnel.

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