Nigerian soldiers on Friday repelled an attack by insurgents on Dikwa, a local government in Borno State, sources said.

The attack started late Friday evening and lasted for over three hours, forcing residents to seek refuge in the bush.

Dikwa is about 86km Northeast of Maiduguri, the state capital. Security sources informed PREMIUM TIMES that a large group of gunmen believed to be members of ISWAP, a breakaway faction of Boko Haram, invaded the community, armed with gun trucks.

The attack comes four days after another attack on a military base in Marte, a remote border community located 40km north of Dikwa. At least seven soldiers were reportedly killed in that attack.

“It was a massive attack, but the soldiers on the ground had stood their ground and gave their best to defend Dikwa,” a military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

Zakariya Dikwa, who represents the local government area in the state House of Assembly, confirmed the attack to our reporter.

“Dikwa came under attack this (Friday) evening, but from the reliable information I have received so far, the attack was repelled, ” he said.

The lawmaker said during the attack, residents fled into the bush, while others headed for Ajiri, a village about 40km away.

“I can confirm to you that the attack has been repelled; and from reliable intelligence I have so far received, the soldiers stood their ground as they tried to take control of Dikwa.

“But many of the residents who fled to Ajiri village are still held there because it was dangerous for them to come back this night.”

The lawmaker said he did not know if there was any loss of life during the attack.

A security source also said, “so far, we have not heard of anyone affected in that manner from the troops’ side”.

Dikwa was once captured and turned into the major base of the Boko Haram fighters in 2014. The military liberated the agrarian community in late July 2015 during a fight that led to the killing of 20 armed insurgents.

The community had, in January, lost its king, Shehu of Dikwa, the second-highest ranked king in Borno.

A new king was appointed two weeks ago, with the state governor, Babagana Zulum, directing him to live in the community to inspire confidence in the returning internally displaced persons.

Details later…

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