Nigeria's Buhari Calls Deadly Insurgent Raid on Base a Tragedy

(Bloomberg) -- A deadly attack by Islamist insurgents that destroyed a Nigerian military base in the country’s northeast last week is a national tragedy, President Muhammadu Buhari said.

“Immediate measures are being taken to ensure that the loopholes which led to the fatalities are blocked once and for all,” Buhari said in a statement emailed from his office late Saturday.

Boko Haram militants identifying themselves as Islamic State West Africa Province overran the army base in the remote town of Metele on Nov. 20. While the Nigerian senate’s defense committee said 53 soldiers died, Reuters reported that at least 100 were killed. Neither the military nor the government has issued official casualty figures.

The insurgents have waged a violent campaign since 2009 to impose their version of Islamic law on Africa’s most populous country of almost 200 million people. Nigeria is roughly split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.

Buhari, who is seeking re-election in February elections, urged citizens “against making political capital” out of a national tragedy, saying he’s in discussion with military and intelligence officials on the appropriate steps to take.

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