Boko Haram fighters have reportedly amassed in the group’s Sambisa Forest stronghold in Borno State, as a military offensive tries to flush them out.
This was disclosed by a civilian vigilante who spoke to AFP on Thursday on condition of anonymity.
He said soldiers were forced to retreat because of the extensive use of landmines in the area, one of which exploded killing a soldier and three vigilantes.
His words: “Boko Haram are in large numbers in Sambisa. All their fighters who were pushed out of Bama, Dikwa, Gwoza and Damboa (in Borno state) all moved to Boko Haram camps in Sambisa,” he added.
Details of the offensive came as a series of photographs circulated on social media accounts linked to the Islamic State group of heavily armed fighters, purportedly from Boko Haram. No independent verification was possible but some of the accounts said the images were released under the name “The Islamic State in West Africa”.
Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, pledged allegiance to IS group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in March. The Middle Eastern militants responded by urging Muslims to support the rebels in Nigeria.