MAIDUGURI - Seven people were killed during an insurgent attack on government soldiers in northeast Nigeria, where security forces are fighting militants, the army said on Friday. At least 44 people have been killed in this restive region of Africa’s top oil producer over the last two weeks in clashes between fighters suspected of belonging to Boko Haram and security forces. “Gunmen attacked 21 brigade troops location at Marte. In the process, one soldier, one policeman and five gunmen lost their lives during an exchange of fire” on Wednesday, military spokesman Sagir Musa told Reuters.
Marte is close to Nigeria’s porous borders with Cameroon and Niger and is about 100km from Maiduguri, Boko Haram’s headquarters and largest town in the northeast. Musa said two AK47 rifles, one locally made shotgun, ammunition and machetes were recovered from the attackers. The sect, which is loosely based on the Afghan Taliban, killed hundreds last year in a campaign to impose sharia. Nigeria’s more than 160 million people are split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims.