Africa

Many Nigerian soldiers killed in Boko Haram attack: Official

The deputy governor of Nigeria's Borno state says many soldiers may have been killed after Boko Haram extremists attacked and burned down a military base.

Usman Mamman Durkwa spoke to journalists Thursday after visiting the scene of Wednesday night's attack in Magumeri town.

Durkwa says at first officials heard two soldiers had died. But he said "when we got there today, we discovered the number of lives lost was far beyond that." He says he can't give a specific death toll.

His account contradicts Nigerian army spokesman Sani Kukasheka Usman, who had said soldiers in Magumeri succeeded in repelling an attack on the town.

The deputy governor says a police officer was also killed and the hospital was looted of medicine.

Borno state is the birthplace of Boko Haram's insurgency.