MAIDUGURI: Attacks blamed on West Africa branch of the militant Islamic State group have killed around 100 soldiers in northeast Nigeria since Sunday, five security sources said on Thursday.

Islamist militants had already killed hundreds of soldiers in the region in recent months, forcing a turnaround in the course of a war which President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has frequently claimed to have won. Buhari will seek a second term in February 2019.

Earlier on Thursday, the Nigerian senate suspended its session in honour of what it said were 44 dead soldiers after an attack in Metele in the northeastern state of Borno on Sunday.

A presidency spokesman said the military would issue a statement.

Military spokesmen did not respond to repeated attempts to reach them for comment.

Four of the security sources said around 100 had died in that attack alone, though the death toll was not final.

The fifth said 96 had died in the northeast in recent days, mostly in the Metele attack, but also in others.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2018