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At least 13 soldiers have died in an ambush by militants from the Daesh group in volatile northeastern Nigeria, two army sources told the media on Monday.
Heavy gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades hit a military convoy in Gazagana village, 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Yobe state capital Damaturu on Saturday.
"We lost 13 soldiers in this ambush and several were injured," an officer said.
The convoy was headed for a military base at Buni Yadi, another 20 kilometres from Damaturu, said the second army source, who gave the same death toll, sources told AFP.
"It was a fierce battle and the terrorists also suffered casualties," he said, without giving a figure.
Heavy gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades hit a military convoy in Gazagana village.
The militant group carries out regular attacks in Buni Yadi region on soldiers and travellers, with the violence spilling over into Borno state.
Since 2009, the militant campaign in northeast Nigeria has focused on Borno where the Boko Haram group is also active.
These militants from the Daesh group split from Boko Haram in 2016 and rose to become a dominant group, sources told AFP.
The violence has spread into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the militants.At least 36,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has displaced about two million from their homes since 2009.
Several soldiers were injured and some others taken captive by the militants, the two officers said. A spokesman for the Nigerian army told the media that he was unable to comment on the reported attack.
According to Deir Ezzor residents and intelligence sources quoted by Reuters, there has been a rise in recent months of ambushes and hit-and-run attacks by Daesh militants who hide in caves in the mainly desert region.
Libya expert Emad Badi says the fighting has given Daesh "the opportunity to reorganise, recruit and strike alliances with other groups (and organise attacks) to show they are still around.”
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