Military authorities and the Borno State government, Monday slammed 24-hour curfew on Maiduguri following an attempt by Boko Haram sect to overrun the troubled state capital.
A statement by the Secretary to the Borno State Government, Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda, stated: “The Borno State Government in consultation with the GOC 7 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Obidah Ethan, has decided to impose a 24-hour curfew on Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and environs starting from 11 am today Monday, 2nd December, 2013.
“The imposition of the curfew is necessitated by an attack in Maiduguri by people suspected to be Boko Haram members in the early hours of today.
“During the period of the curfew, Borno State Government pleads with all citizens to remain calm and law abiding until the situation is brought under control as the security agencies will do everything possible to maintain lives and property of the citizenry.
“Only vehicles on emergency call and essential services are allowed to move during the period. The curfew would be lifted as soon as the situation improves.”
Insurgents, numbering over 200, attacked the Maiduguri Airport, the air force base, the trailer park and many other places in the western part of the state that lead to Maiduguri from Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.
The attack forced the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to shut down the Maiduguri International Airport and Arik Air to cancel its Abuja to Maiduguri morning flight Monday, just as several other roads leading into the city were closed.
Giving further details on the attacks, the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Col. Muhammad Dole, said: “In the early hours of Monday, December 2, 2013, Boko Haram terrorists attempted to gain access to our locations in Maiduguri metropolis.
“However, troops of 7 Division Nigerian Army have successfully repelled the insurgents and inflicted serious casualties on them.
“The situation around Jimtilo and Maiduguri Airport general area are calm and under control.”
He further said: “Our troops supported by the Nigerian Air Force are presently pursuing the terrorists towards the Maiduguri-Benisheikh Road. Members of the general public are requested to remain calm and comply with the 24-hour curfew imposed by the Borno State Government. The curfew will be reviewed periodically as the situation improves.”
In its statement, DHQ also confirmed that deadly attacks were carried out by the suspected members of Boko Haram sect against various military locations in Maiduguri, including the NAF base.
DHQ said the coordinated attacks, which took members of the Armed Forces by surprise, were successfully repelled, leaving two military personnel and 24 terrorists dead.
According to the statement issued yesterday by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade, the situation had been normalised and flights to Maiduuguri, which were temporarily suspended resumed yesterday.
“Nigerian security forces today repelled a pre-dawn attack on Maiduguri by suspected terrorists,” Olukolade said.
He disclosed that three decommissioned military aircraft as well as two helicopters were incapacitated in the course of the attack
He said: “Military locations such as the Nigerian Air Force base and some Nigerian Army locations in Maiduguri were targeted during the attacks.
“Two air force personnel were also wounded while 24 insurgents died during the exchange of fire.”
The Defence spokesman said security forces went in pursuit of the terrorists in the Djemtillo general area along the Maiduguri/Banishek axis.
He added that movement in Maiduguri and environs had been restricted.
“Citizens are enjoined to report any of the fleeing insurgents, most of whom can be identified with gunshot wounds whenever they are sighted.
“Meanwhile, normal flights operations to and from the Maiduguri Airport which were earlier temporarily disrupted have resumed,” he said.