16 suspected members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect have been killed in a fierce overnight gun battle with soldiers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Lawan Bukar and Shehuri areas of Maiduguri late Tuesday.
The Army says no casualties were recorded on its side, witnesses say civilians were hit by stray bullets.
“It’s confirmed,” Colonel Victor Ebhaleme told AFP when asked about reports of 16 Boko Haram members being killed in the city of Maiduguri. “They came to attack part of the city,” he said.
“Some suspected Boko Haram terrorists attempted to open fire on [security] operatives but could not succeed,” Ebhaleme added
Colonel Ebhaleme declined to provide more details about the raid.
The Joint Task Force also recovered weapons and ammunition from the suspects and destroyed some of their home-made bombs.
Residents of the area reported hearing gunfire and explosions as JTF soilders swarmed the area with heavy artillery where sect members were believed to be hiding.
“There have been at least eight explosions in these neighbourhoods and soldiers have moved in with tanks and have taken over the whole area,” a resident said.
Boko Haram claimed responsibility for Sunday’s a suicide bombing at a church in Bauchi. The attack left more than 15 people dead.
The group is yet to comment on this incident.