Chadian soldier killed in clashes with Boko Haram

N'DJAMENA – A Chadian soldier was killed and 11 others injured in clashes with Boko Haram militants on Wednesday in Nigeria's northeastern town of Gambaru near the border with Cameroon, a military official has said.

"At about 4:30am local time, Boko Haram attacked a position of our forces stationed in Gambaru in Nigeria. Our forces responded accordingly and the enemy inflicted losses in human lives and hardware," Col. Azem Agouna, spokesman for the Chadian army's general staff, told The Anadolu Agency.

The fatality brought the number of Chadian soldiers killed since the deployment in mid-January of Chadian troops in Cameroon and Nigeria to 26, according to Chadian military sources.

Nigeria, however, has denied that Chadian troops – or any other foreign forces – were fighting Boko Haram on its soil.

The denial came after media reports had suggested that the Chadian army had routed Boko Haram militants from Baga, a town in Nigeria's northeast that was recently seized by insurgents.

Army spokesman Chris Olukolade, however, said military operations remained underway by Nigerian troops in cooperation with the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF), an African military force comprised of contingents from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

The MJTF was created in the 1990s with a mandate to combat cross-border crime. The task force, however, ended up coming in handy in the fight against Boko Haram.

For the last five years, Nigeria has battled a fierce Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the country's volatile northeast and claimed thousands of lives.

The year 2014 proved to be the insurgency's bloodiest year yet, with increasingly frequent attacks, higher death tolls and a deluge of displaced persons.

In recent months, Boko Haram graduated from simple hit-and-run tactics to capturing entire towns in Nigeria's Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states, where the militant group has declared a self-styled "Islamic caliphate."

The violence displaced more than 1.5 million people last year, according to a recent report by the Borno State government.

Since the beginning of 2015, Boko Haram has also stepped up its attacks in neighboring countries.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency