Maiduguri (Reuters) – Islamist insurgency Boko Haram has claimed it carried out Monday’s attack on the northeast Nigerian town of Rann, according to a video released on Thursday by Nigerian journalist Ahmad Salkida.
Reuters had originally reported that Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), an offshoot of Boko Haram that is now the dominant group, was responsible for the attack, citing sources.
If Boko Haram’s involvement is confirmed, it would mean that both ISWA and Boko Haram are able to overrun Nigerian military positions in the northeast.
Major General Benson Akinroluyo told Reuters the video was recorded during the attack on Rann, but that troops are now on the ground, and that he had visited the town.
The attack comes amidst a surge of assaults by the militants, just weeks before Feb. 16 elections in which President Muhammadu Buhari – who had vowed to restore security to Nigeria – seeks a second term.
Last month, ISWA launched a series of attacks that saw them take the town of Baga, the Nigerian headquarters of a multi-country force formed by Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger to fight the extremists, sending more than 30,000 people fleeing.
(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Additional reporting by Ola Lanre; Editing by Toby Chopra)