The Nigerian Air Force said on Saturday that it had killed more than 70 terrorists in the northern part of the country, at the border with Niger Republic.

The statement said that aircraft from both Nigeria and Niger had taken part in the operation.

The Lake Chad area where Nigeria said it launched the airstrikes had been known for hosting fighters of the Islamic State West Africa Province, a jihadist group active since 2016.

With older rivals Boko Haram, the two factions had killed more than 40,000 people in the past decade and over two million people are still displaced from their homes due to ongoing violence. 

“Missions over the suspected locations conducted on April 13, 2022, specifically sighted large number of terrorists, a likely logistics camp,” Nigerian Air Force Spokesman, Edward Gabkwet said.

As a result, they carried out airstrikes on April 14 at Tumbun Rego and a nearby training camp, using aircraft from both Nigeria and Niger, he added in a statement.

“Over 70 ISWAP terrorists were either eliminated or severely injured,” he said.

Nigeria often scaled up its offensive at this time of the year, before the rainy season started.

Soldiers had been battling the jihadist insurgency for more than 12 years. 

Since last year, ISWAP had mostly taken over from its rival Boko Haram, after its leader, Abubakar Shekau, died during inter-factional clashes.

Shekau had gained international notoriety after kidnapping nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014.

Government troops were also battling heavily armed gangs in the North-West and separatist tensions in the South-West.

AFP

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