Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, has been under fresh attack by suspected Boko Haram sect insurgents.
In early hours of Monday, at about 3 a.m., unidentified terrorists conducted a siege on the Composite Group Air force Base in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. There were reports of sporadic shooting and sounds of rocket propelled launchers firing, with airstrikes in Maiduguri and Jere metropolis up until 8 in the morning.
Over 300 suspected terrorists planted explosives in targeted areas in the state capital.
The Spokesman of the 7 Division, Colonel Mohammed Dole confirmed the multiple attacks and killings by the terrorists suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents.
Addressing the press, Dole said:
“In the early hours of Monday 2 December 2013, Boko Haram terrorists attempted to gain access to Military locations in Maiduguri Metropolis. However, troops of the 7 Division, Nigerian Army have successfully repelled the insurgents and afflicted serious casualties on them.
“The situation around Jimtilo and Maiduguri International Airport General Areas are now calm and under control. Our troops supported by Nigerian Air force aircrafts are presently pursuing the terrorists towards the Maiduguri- Beneshiekh- Damaturu road. Members of the general public are requested to remain calm and comply with the 24 hours curfew imposed by the Borno State Government. The curfew will be reviewed periodically as the situation improves.”
Although Colonel Dole did not specify the number of casualties from the side of the military or the terrorists, he insisted the military troops were able to inflict serious casualties on the terrorists.
Various reports indicate that four civilians, said to be residents of Kofa outskirts at Gomari Airport ward, were shot dead by the insurgents while trying to escape. Moreover, two Michika youths operating a chemists/patent medicine store [names withheld] also fell victims the terrorists.
More than 20 security operatives were killed in the ensuing chaos, and two helicopters at the 79 Composite Group, NAF Base headquarters, burnt ashes. One of the armoured tankers belonging to the 7 Division was seized from the military by the assailants, but was later abandoned after it developed technical fault.
According to a top government official, who resides with his family at the 707 Housing Estate, said, “A police outpost, which now turned to be a military checkpoint at the entrance of the Main Gate, was also attacked and razed down.”
He added that few days ago, three foreigners were arrested and detained in the police outpost located just 50 meters away to the main gate of the estate. When the terrorists gained entrance, they opened fire on the detained foreigners thinking they were security men,killing two of the. The third one sustained gunshot injury on his head.
Sources also indicate that petrol filling station along the Maiduguri-Jimtilo-Damaturu Federal highway was also set on fire by the assailants. Several vehicles waiting for service at different mechanical workshops along the main road were burnt, too. Three bungalow flats opposite the NAF Base were also burned down completely.
Following the development, authorities in Borno have imposed a 24-hour curfew on Maiduguri metropolis.
Addressing the press, Alhaji Ahmed Jidda, the Secretary to the State Government, said the curfew was imposed in consultation with the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri.
“During the period of curfew, government pleads with all citizens to remain calm.
“Only vehicles on emergency calls and essential services are allowed to move while the curfew will be lifted as soon as situation improves.
“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.”