Lake Chad firefight claims 42 lives

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West African troops killed 42 suspected Islamic State fighters during a battle in the Lake Chad region on June 21, the heaviest death toll suffered by the insurgents in the last six months, a regional military task force said in a statement.

The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) comprising troops from countries bordering the lake – said one of its soldiers was killed and 10 others were injured.

In apparent reference to the same clash, Islamic State said its fighters killed 15 soldiers in fighting on June 21 at Garno, a town near Lake Chad. It said a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device but did not say any of its fighters were killed.

Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) was formed in 2016 when a faction of Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Islamic State. The insurgency affects countries bordering Lake Chad – Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, as well as islands on the lake.

The MNJTF said in a statement“42 terrorists were neutralised” during fighting on and around the Lake Chad island Doron Naira. It said it “inflicted the heaviest loss in six months on ISWAP”.

Islamic State, in a statement issued through its Amaq news agency, said: “Fifteen African coalition soldiers were killed and others injured when Islamic State fighters attacked them.”