The file photo shows soldiers from the 7th Division of the Nigerian army on the back of a vehicle in Borno state, northeastern Nigeria. (AFP)
The Multinational Joint Task Force headquartered in Chad
has regained control of a town in northeastern Nigeria from the grip of the Takfiri Boko Haram
“[The] MNJTF (Multinational Joint Task Force) troops… have successfully… occupied Damasak,” Nigeria’s army said in a statement on Friday.
The MNJTF is a joint force consisting of soldiers from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin. It is tasked with ending the Boko Haram militancy in the Lake Chad region.
Damasak is a fishing town and irrigation center which lies close to the border with Niger, about 180 kilometers (120 miles) north of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
On July 21, the Nigerian military said 19 soldiers had gone missing following an ambush by Boko Haram in Borno.
The town of Damasak was seized by Boko Haram in November 2014. The Takfiri militants have killed some 200 people there. About 14,000 people have also been forced from their homes taking refuge across the border in the city of Diffa in Niger.
In early 2015, Damasak was temporarily freed by forces from Nigeria and Chad, but it later fell back to the militants.
In April, Boko Haram attacked Nigerian troops at a military checkpoint in the village of Kareto, about 38 kilometers (24 miles) from Damasak. Over 20 troops were wounded in the assault.
UN suspends Borno aid deliveries
On Thursday, UNICEF said unknown assailants attacked a humanitarian convoy in Borno. The UN body has temporarily suspended aid deliveries in the Nigerian state, which is the former stronghold of Boko Haram.
Doctors Without Borders, also known as the MSF by its French acronym, has said malnourished children are dying in large numbers in northeastern Nigeria, where food supplies are almost running out.
Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh terrorists
, seeks to overthrow the government and seize power in northern Nigeria. The group has killed some 20,000 people and displaced more than 2.6 million others since 2009.