At least 70 Nigerian soldiers were killed in an ambush on their convoy by jihadist fighters in the restive northeast, military and security sources said Tuesday.

READ MORE: Insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades at a lorry carrying troops as it traveled near Gorgi village in Borno state, Monday, March 23, two military officers, who withheld their names, told AFP.

"It was a huge loss, at least 70 soldiers have perished in the ambush," one of the officers said.

"The terrorists specifically targeted a truck loaded with soldiers with RPGs and incinerated the vehicle, killing all on board," a second officer said.

"So far 70 bodies have been recovered but the toll is certainly more than that as rescue operation is still underway." [[who said this]]

Several soldiers were injured and some others taken captive by the jihadists, the two officers said.

The Islamic State West Africa Province faction split from Boko Haram insurgents in 2016 and has focused on attacking troops, raiding bases and laying ambush on military convoys.

The group has been accused of increasing attacks on civilians and taking hostages at bogus checkpoints on main roads in the region.

The decade long conflict has killed 36,000 people and displaced 1.8 million in the northeast of Nigeria. (AFP)

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