On 18 November, Islamic State West Africa Province militants attacked and overran a Nigerian Army base at Metele town in Borno State. The militants reportedly seized control of the nearby town and captured arms and ammunition.[source]
The militants inflicted further casualties when they ambushed Nigerian Army troops who were reportedly attempting to retrieve the bodies of troops killed around Metele on the following day. [source]
Local media reported an estimated 100 deaths, while a figure of 118 fatalities was quoted in the Nigerian House of Representatives. The commanding officer of the base was reportedly among the casualties. As many as 150 soldier appear to still be unaccounted, the missing seemingly to be largely from the second force that was ambushed. [source]
11 days after the attack, a Nigerian Army spokesman, Brigadier General, Sani Usman, claimed that 23 personnel had been killed, and 31 wounded had been evacuated to hospitals in Borno State. The spokesman downplayed the attack itself, but acknowledged a spate of attacks on Nigerian Army forces earlier in the month, specifically at Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto, and Gajiram, resulting in 16 deaths, and 12 wounded. Interestingly, the spokesman claimed that the militants were increasingly using drones, presumably to conduct surveillance, as well as an apparent infusion of foreign fighters. [source]
In the week after the attack, a video appeared on social media, purportedly filmed by survivors from the base, berating the leadership for failing to properly equip them. The veracity of the video is uncertain, but the sentiment of frustration appears to be growing among Nigerian troops and political figures.
President Buhari responded to the attack by calling an urgent meeting with his military chiefs of staff – and subsequently sent his Defence Minister to neighbouring Chad, to discuss bolstering the Multi-National Joint Task Force, to combat Boko Haram and ISWAP militants in the Lake Chad region. He later sent his Chief of Air Staff to join the Chief of Army Staff, stationed in the north-east of the country, to oversee the counterinsurgency campaign. [source]
The Nigerian Air Force subsequently claimed to have destroyed ‘camps’ used by the ISWAP militants in the region – and also to have destroyed armoured vehicles that were stolen from the base, in an unspecified neighboring country. Various purported military or intelligence sources doubled down on claims that some of the ISWAP militants spoke Arabic, French, and other languages – and added that some of the attackers wore uniforms similar is other Multi-National Joint Task Force member countries – possibly as a ruse to gain access to the base. [source]