On Friday, January 15, militants from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) attacked the town of Marte in the Lake Chad region of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. The militants were able to overrun the Nigerian base on-site. The attack forced thousands of residents out of their homes and off their lands.

The town, 80 miles from the regional capital Maiduguri, was once considered the breadbasket of the Lake Chad region.

“The priority now is to reclaim the base from the terrorists and an operation is underway,” said a military official who spoke with AFP news on Saturday.

The Nigerian army released a statement saying that troops “tactically withdrew” to defend against an attack outside Marte. It added that troops “effectively destroyed” seven gun trucks and “decimated” an unconfirmed number of attackers. 

ISIS acknowledged responsibility for the attack in a statement on its own Amaq news service. It claimed to have killed seven and captured one person during the assault on the Nigerian base and that its fighters had seized weapons, ammunition, and six vehicles, as well as burned down the army barracks. 

As of Saturday night, the Nigerian base at Marte was still under the control of ISIS. 

Just a week ago, ISIS had attacked Marte but was repulsed. It regrouped and returned to assault the town with added reinforcements.

The second attack was seen as payback for last week’s failed assault and for the Nigerian army troops recently overrunning ISWAP’s second-largest camp in Talala village.