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At least 31 Nigerian soldiers were killed when IS-aligned fighters ambushed a military convoy escorting weapons and overran a base in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, military sources said on Monday.

Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) attacked the convoy with rocket-propelled grenades on Sunday in the town of Mainok outside the regional capital Maiduguri before storming the nearby base, the two sources said.

The attack was the deadliest this year against Nigeria’s army which has been battling a decade-long jihadist insurgency

Which however is currently in the region that has killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes.

“We lost 31 soldiers, including their commander who is a lieutenant colonel, in the ambush by the terrorists,” a military officer says about the attack which happened around 1100 GMT.

The convoy was transporting weapons to Maiduguri when it came under attack, said a second military source.

“The terrorists came in several trucks, four MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles), engaged the convoy in a fierce battle,”.

The militants however overwhelmed soldiers, leading to the “colossal loss” of troops, he said.

“We lost a lot of men in very gruesome way.”

The jihadists seized weapons and two MRAPs in the attack before overrunning and partially burning the base outside the town.

Mainok, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Maiduguri, has been repeatedly targeted by the jihadists.

ISWAP has frequently set up bogus checkpoints along the 120-km highway linking Maiduguri and Damaturu in neighbouring Yobe state

And on which Mainok lies, killing and abducting travelers and making the roads unsafe

ISWAP split from the mainstream Boko Haram faction in 2016 and rose to become a dominant force in the northeast.

as Nigeria’s conflict has spilt over borders into neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

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