A day after President Goodluck Jonathan held a campaign rally in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, killed close to forty soldiers but suffered heavier casualties as they made daring attacks to capture barracks in the capital city as well as the town of Monguno.
Security sources in Abuja and Maiduguri told SaharaReporters that the Islamist insurgents had launched two attacks, one last evening at Monguno Barracks, which was repelled, and the other today in Maiduguri.
One of the sources said the bodies of 38 dead soldiers had been deposited at a military hospital at Maimalari Barracks in Maiduguri.
However, Nigerian troops were able to repel the attacks on both military facilities, said our sources. The troops reportedly killed more than 100 Boko Haram insurgents who attacked Maiduguri. In addition, the Nigerian troops captured two armored personnel carriers (APCs), artillery and a cache of other weapons from the insurgents. The military has imposed a 24-hour curfew in Maiduguri.
“The 7th Division of the Nigerian Army has imposed 24 hour door-to-door curfew on residents of Maiduguri as [Islamist] militants suffered high casualties during a fierce battle when they tried to overrun Maiduguri city today,” a senior military source in Abuja said.
In a corroborating text message to reporters, the spokesman of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Sanni Usman, wrote: “Please announce the imposition of curfew on Maiduguri immediately till further notice.”
A top official of the civilian Joint Task Force, in a telephone conversation with a correspondent of SaharaReporters, confirmed that many of the militants were killed in the battle and that a significant number of weapons were recovered as the insurgents fled.
According to Abba Aji, “We recovered two APCs, many anti-aircraft guns and many AK 47 guns from the Boko Haram fighters.”
He disclosed that the insurgents launched their attack on the military at Jimtilo checkpoint. “They failed. We killed more than a hundred of them. Allah has given us victory over them. We will not stop until we kill them all,” he said.
A resident of Maiduguri said that some of the residents of 1000 Housing Estate fled from their homes due to the heavy explosions that woke them up in the morning. A resident of the housing estate, Ali Ciroma, said, “We couldn't sleep all through last night. We heard many loud explosions but this early morning was unbearable. It was so close to our estate, so everyone fled to Bulunkutu area. Thanks to Allah, the situation is calm now.”
Meanwhile, most of the major streets in Maiduguri were reportedly empty, except for civilian JTF youths who have blocked some roads to search and capture any fleeing insurgents.
A pastor in Maiduguri told our correspondent that Christians were staying indoors for fear of possible attacks. Our correspondent reported that the Jos-Kano Road was deserted, with some security vehicles patrolling them and heading towards Jimtilo area.