Hundreds of Boko Haram militants yesterday made a futile attempt to overrun Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, advancing from different fronts weeks after being dislodged from many local government areas of the state and other parts of the North East.
Sources said the militants, who had been under sustained attacks from Nigerian troops with support from Chadian, Nigerien and Cameroonian forces, attacked from a cashew plantation a few kilometres from the Giwa barracks in the city. Giwa Barracks was attacked March 14, 2014 when the militants set free hundreds of their members and other suspects who were held in the facility, leading to the death of over 400 of them while fleeing.
Many of the militants were feared killed in yesterday’s attack, so were soldiers and civilians, residents said.
Daily Trust gathered that various groups of the militants, armed with sophisticated weapons, launched the attacks. Residents said they heard heavy shooting and explosions on the outskirts and began fleeing their homes.
One of the groups advanced towards the 21 Brigade in Giwa Barracks through Kayamla, a village on the outskirts of the city along Bama Road.
The attack took many in Maiduguri unawares, as it was believed that the militants had been decimated by the regional offensive.
Details of the attack, which started around 6.20 pm, were still unavailable at press time yesterday, but thousands of residents rushed away amidst frightening blasts and gunshots.
Neighbours of the Giwa Barracks said some of the militants hid near a popular plantation at Fouri, close to the military facility.
“The insurgents were well armed but the biggest surprise was how they brought fighting equipment into the town,” said Musa Abdul Malik, a resident.
Another set of the militants advanced through Molai village along the Maiduguri-Damboa Road.
“They were also repelled by soldiers but nobody can tell how many of them or civilians were killed,” Modu Askira, another resident said.
Spokesman of the 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Tukur Gusau, advised our correspondent not to panic when contacted for reaction.
Culled from Daily Trust