Islamic State-aligned jihadists ambushed a Nigerian military convoy, killing 15 soldiers and four militia fighters in the northeastern state of Borno, security sources said Saturday.
The convoy came under heavy attack from Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters near Gudumbali in the Lake Chad region on Thursday, the sources said.
The attack was the latest in a jihadist conflict which has killed 36,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands in northeast Nigeria since it began more than a decade ago.
The attack is coming to light on a day the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor led other service Chiefs to visit the operational headquarters of the Joint task force put in place to curtail the activities of insurgents in the North East.
The 10-vehicle convoy was on its way to Gudumbali from the town of Kukawa for a military operation against the insurgents when it came under fire, said another military source, who gave the same toll.
On Saturday, ISWAP issued a statement, claiming responsibility for the ambush, according to the SITE jihadist monitoring agency.
ISWAP which split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking troops and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at bogus checkpoints.