Landmine kills 9 troops in northeast Nigeria

Nigerian troops, as seen in this picture from July 2019, are regularly targeted by the IS-aligned Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the restive northeast of the country.

At least nine Nigerian troops were killed when a military truck hit a landmine in jihadist-wracked northeast Nigeria, two security sources told AFP Wednesday.

The incident happened on Monday near the town of Malam Fatori on the border with Niger which houses a garrison of soldiers fighting insurgent groups, the sources, who asked not to be identified, told AFP. 

"We lost nine soldiers in the incident," said the first security source. 

The military convoy was transporting food from regional capital Maiduguri, 200 kilometres (130 miles) away, when the lead vehicle hit the explosive device, the second source said. 

The IS-aligned Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) is dominant in the Lake Chad region including Malam Fatori where they have been locked in a war with troops from Nigeria and Niger.  

"The mine was definitely planted by ISWAP terrorists who operate in the area and against whom soldiers are fighting," said the second source who gave the same toll. 

News of the incident was slow to emerge due to lack of communication network as the militants have destroyed telecom infrastructure in the region. 

ISWAP split from mainstream Boko Haram jihadist group six years ago and rose to become a dominant group.

The insurgents have made repeated deadly attempts to overrun the Malam Fatori base. 

The group focuses on military targets, raiding bases, laying ambush to troops and planting mines on the roads, although they have in recent times been attacking and abducting civilians. 

At least 36,000 people have been killed in the jihadist conflict which displaced around two million from their homes since 2009.

The violence spread into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the militants.