Nigeria’s military on Sunday said it had restored order after Boko Haram fighters took control of a town in the country’s remote northeast, sparking fears about the group’s resurgence.
Scores of jihadists believed to be loyal to a faction backed by the Islamic State group overran troops in Gudumbali on Friday.
The toll from what was the Islamist extremists’ first major seizure of a town in two years was put at least eight by civilian militia sources, although the Nigerian army denied there were casualties.
It also followed a series of recent deadly attacks on troops, which have called into question repeated government and military claims that Boko Haram is weakened to the point of defeat.
Nigerian Army spokesman Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, said: “The encounter took place when the insurgents attacked the community, set some buildings ablaze and quickly withdrew from the community.
“However, no human casualty was recorded in the encounter. The troops have regrouped and normalcy has been restored. The troops have also been reinforced with additional troops to dominate the general area.”
A military source in Maiduguri said troops returned to a deserted town on Sunday morning, indicating that Boko Haram had withdrawn voluntarily at some point on Saturday.
“Residents are yet to return to the town have fled to other places to escape the attack. The fighters looted the military base before leaving,” he told AFP.