More than 100 civilians and several soldiers were killed in clashes between Nigeria's military and the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, a military official said on Tuesday.
The army on Monday tried to recapture the town of Gwoza in north-eastern Borno State, which has been under Boko Haram’s control for more than a week, a military source told reporters on condition of anonymity.
But the army did not succeed in regaining control of Gwoza, the source said, even though “the sheer number of the insurgents and the fact that they were heavily armed prompted the ground troops to request reinforcements from the air force”.
Dozens of civilians and numerous soldiers, as well as insurgents, were killed, according to the army official.
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful”, killed more than 3 000 people in Nigeria's north this year alone.
When it first launched attacks in 2009, Boko Haram mainly targeted Christians, under the pretext of wanting to establish an Islamic state.
Since mid-2013, Boko Haram focused its attacks on government security agents as well as on civilians of both Christian and Muslim faith in their homes, markets, hospitals and schools. - Sapa-dpa