MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Boko Haram extremists ambushed an oil exploration convoy in northern Nigeria, killing about 10 soldiers and abducting 10 geological surveyors, officials said Wednesday. One said at least seven people were rescued and many attackers killed in a shootout that followed.
The ambush came several weeks after the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation's management announced it was resuming oil exploration around Lake Chad following assurances by Nigeria's military that security had improved in the area once under Boko Haram's control.
The secretary of the Hunters Association in Borno State, Bunu Bukar, said members of the self-defense group saw the bodies of military personnel after the ambush Tuesday.
"What I can confidently confirm to you is that the insurgents came in new vehicles and fully dressed in military uniforms," Bukar said.
The military and self-defense group were providing security for the oil exploration workers. Nigeria's military did not immediately comment.
NNPC spokesman Ndu Ughamadu said only one of 10 geological surveyors who were abducted had been found. But the council chairman of Magumeri local government area, Zanna Modu, said soldiers were able to rescue four self-defense workers, two NNPC personnel and a staffer with the University of Maiduguri.
A large number of Boko Haram fighters were killed in the shootout, Modu said.
Boko Haram's eight-year insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people and continues to carry out deadly attacks despite the government's declaration late last year that the extremists had been "crushed."