FG suspends crude oil exploration in Lake Chad Basin after deadly attacks

1200 days 113 Chibok girls still in Boko Haram captivity

The casualties include at least four deaths of researchers and staff from the University of Maiduguri, who were working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The military's statement on Wednesday did not refer to team members from the University of Maiduguri, which contributed staff including geologists to the team surveying in the Lake Chad Basin region.

Soldiers and members of a vigilante group also died in the ambush.

University Hospital, Maiduguri (UMTH), a member of the medical staff, said: "at this moment We have 19 dead bodies of civilians".

This came three days after Borno State Governor Kassim Shettima cautioned that though the Boko Haram terrorists had been sufficiently decimated, their capacity for attacks in the state should not be underrated.

Northeastern Nigeria has been wracked for eight years by an Islamist insurgency that has killed at least 20,000 people and forced some 2.7 million to flee their homes.

A medical source in the Nigerian Army 7th Division headquarters in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, told AFP that 18 soldiers had been killed.

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The Nigerian government on Thursday said it has suspended the exploration of crude oil in the Lake Chad Basin due to attacks by terror group Boko Haram.

"We still have other missing personal", he added.

There has been no serious suggestion that Boko Haram is motivated by a desire to control oil in northeast Nigeria.

In December, the Islamist group appeared to be permanently in decline after President Muhammadu Buhari announced its last stronghold in the Sambisa forest had been destroyed.

But insurgents have launched attacks with renewed zeal in the past few months.

He went ahead to confirm the reported attack on NNPC workers and support team on Tuesday, commiserating with the families of those who were killed and assuring of government's support.

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