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Cape Town - In a fresh attack against extremist Islamist sect Boko Haram, 16 Nigerian soldiers and 150 sect members, including a top commander, were killed in the northern state of Borno, local newspaper Vanguard reported on Wednesday.
Nigeria's army attacked a group of insurgents at Kafiya forest, between the towns of Maiduguri and Baga in Borno state, acting on an intelligence report that Boko Haram was planning an attack, according to army spokesperson Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru.
The incident took place on the weekend, but the army only released the information late on Tuesday.
“The troops launched an attack and destroyed the enemy camp, and during the encounter that lasted several hours, the troops killed 150 insurgents, while one lieutenant and 15 soldiers lost their lives,” Attahiru told journalists.
Among the insurgents killed was Abba Goroma, one of the most wanted Boko Haram commanders on whose head government had placed a $615 000 bounty.
Soldiers found anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns mounted on vehicles in the Boko Haram camp, according to the army spokesperson.
Borno is one of three northern states that the government placed under emergency regulations in May to curb attacks by Boko Haram.
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful”, has been active in the Muslim north of the West African country, regularly carrying out attacks aimed primarily at Christians.
Since 2009, about 1 500 people have been killed in the violence. - Sapa-dpa