Nigerian troops have taken back control of Rann, Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, 24 hours after the community fell to a faction of Boko Haram called Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

Reuters reports that Nigeria's military recaptured the northeastern town of Rann on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, after it was overrun by Islamic insurgents a day earlier.

Security has become a key campaign issue in Nigeria ahead of the elections. 

ISWA, the Abu Mus'ab al-Barnawi faction of Boko Haram, has become the dominant terrorist group in Nigeria's northeast region.

A surge in ISWA attacks in recent weeks have renewed debates around security in the run-up to Nigeria’s general elections slated for February 16 and March 2, 2019.

Soldiers fought back to retake Rann

The terrorists reportedly set buildings ablaze and sent soldiers fleeing in different directions before capturing Rann on Monday, January 14.

But troops fought back and regained control of Rann early on Tuesday, Reuters quotes anonymous military and police sources as saying. 

Nigerian soldiers prepare to head off on patrol to search for Boko Haram militants outside Maiduguri in Borno State, in Nigeria's northeast on March 25, 2016 (AFP)
Nigerian soldiers prepare to head off on patrol to search for Boko Haram militants outside Maiduguri in Borno State, in Nigeria's northeast on March 25, 2016 (AFP)

"Boko Haram invaded Rann at about 4pm (on Monday). The battle continued for about three hours. Our troops retreated and later returned to fight back," a soldier speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters. 

In December of 2018, ISWA launched a series of attacks that saw them capture the town of Baga, the Nigerian headquarters of a multi-country force formed by Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger to fight the extremists, sending more than 30,000 people fleeing.

The Nigerian military retook Baga last week, boasting that it had handed the terrorists “a bloody nose”.

President Muhammadu Buhari won the 2015 election partly on the back of a pledge to defeat terrorism in Africa’s largest economy.

Boko Haram has killed more than 50,000 people and displaced millions since it commenced an insurgency against the Nigerian state in 2009.