Fierce fighting broke out over the weekend between fighters from Boko Haram and another jihadist group that pledges allegiance to Islamic State in the Lake Chad region, sources close to anti-jihadist paramilitary groups said Monday, with the death toll at surely it exceeds “the 60 dead”.

The clashes unfolded on Friday and Saturday after Islamic State in West Africa (ISIS) fighters ambushed a Boko Haram flotilla on the islet of Kaduna Rua, on Lake Chad, which borders Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad , according to these sources.

“The fighting started around 16:00 (local time; 17:00 Greek time) and lasted until Saturday morning. Nine Boko Haram boats and all the fighters on board sank,” Ibrahim Liman, head of an anti-jihadist organization operating in the area, told AFP.

In addition to the fighters, dozens of hostages, who had been kidnapped two weeks earlier, were on board these boats. “At least 60 people were killed (…) if we count the militants and their dozens of hostages,” estimated Mr. Liman.

“We don’t have a definitive account of the battles, but there are certainly more than 60 dead. Nine boats were sunk and (…) we know that the rebels are offloading them when they are on missions,” added another head of an anti-jihadist paramilitary group, Kabiru Hambu.

No bodies have been recovered so far, according to sources in the area, while local authorities have not released any official tally.


Two weeks earlier, Boko Haram fighters left their camp in Diffa district in neighboring Niger by boat and stormed Doron Baga Island, off the Nigerian shores of Lake Chad, terrorizing residents and indulging in looting and kidnapping, he told AFP. Salau Arzika, a fisherman from the village of Baga.

They kidnapped dozens of people, including fishermen and at least eight women belonging to the Pel tribe, according to Mr. Arzika and Lambo Sani, another fisherman.

The jihadists beheaded one of the fishermen and handed over his head to residents, ordering them to take it to a Cameroonian military unit and carry the threat of attacking it, according to the same sources.

However, they were intercepted by IKDA fighters, who then searched for their opponents and when they found them, ambushed the Boko Haram fighters and their hostages.

In February and March, the two organizations, Boko Haram and IKDA, engaged in battles over control of islands in Lake Chad. Both sides suffered heavy casualties, according to fishermen and paramilitaries in the area.

The jihadist insurgency and operations to quell it in northeastern Nigeria have killed more than 40,000 people and forcibly displaced more than 2 million others since 2009.