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Troops repel another attack on Maiduguri

The attack began at about 2.30am, with sound of blasts and gunfire which kept traumatised residents awake till day break.The military responded with heavy artillery…

The attack began at about 2.30am, with sound of blasts and gunfire which kept traumatised residents awake till day break.
The military responded with heavy artillery fire as it also rolled out armoured tanks to confront the insurgents.
Security and vigilante sources put the number of the insurgents at about 1,500, bigger than the number that attacked the city on Wednesday.
Over 200 insurgents as well as unspecified number of soldiers and civilians were reportedly killed in that attack.
Sources said in yesterday’s attack over 440 of the inusurgents were killed, but others said the figure could be higher.
It was reported that many of the insurgents who sustained gunshot injuries fell into trenches that fortified Maiduguri and bled to death.
Civilians, troops and vigilantes were also killed in the encounter which lasted till around 2pm yesterday.
Sources said the insurgents came from their base in Sambisa Forest and other hideouts in northern Borno.
Yesterday’s encounter was said to be deadlier than previous invasion of Maiduguri.
Hundreds of soldiers, supported by over 2,000 youth vigilantes, also known as civilian JTF confronted the Boko Haram invaders, witnesses said.
Daily Trust correspondents report that the insurgents attacked Maiduguri from two directions.
The first group reportedly gathered at Dalwa village, along the deserted Maiduguri-Damboa road before they drove towards the state capital in convoy of many Hilux and buffalo trucks.
“Most of them had deadly weapons, in fact, some carrying both RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) and AK47 rifles but were steadily subdued at Molai, a settlement in the outskirt of Maiduguri,” a security source said.
He added that as the insurgents approached, troops who were taking charge at a checkpoint, with support from the populace, engaged them from a distance.
“The troops severally deployed the Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) at their disposal but the insurgents were defiant…they kept advancing despite the fact that those hit by assault rifles were falling continuously,” he said.
As the confrontation intensified, a fighter jet arrived and began shelling the invaders.
However, when they realised that they were failing in their mission the insurgents went berserk and started firing RPGs into houses and shops.
Our correspondents report that one of the arsenals fell into Kuru Water Factory along Damboa road, killing five youths instantly and injuring five others.
Another RPG bomb fell into the NNPC Depot also along Damboa road but it killed anyone, witnesses said.
Similarly, an old man and his daughter were hit by yet another RPG at Abujan Talakawa along Damboa road.
The second group of the attackers approached Maiduguri through the Maiduguri-Mafa-Dikwa road.
“They too were armed to the teeth, many of them brandished RPGs and strapped themselves with ammunitions, enough to sustain the offensive for long but we subdued them,” another military source said.
While the fighter jet actually gave Nigerian troops an edge over the Boko Haram, its operations have equally left many families mourning.
A bomb dropped by the fighter jet in a house at Moduganari left seven family members dead, neighbours said.
Fatalities were also recorded along Barrack Road in GRA Maiduguri when the same fighter jet dropped another bomb which unsettled residents of the area.
Five youth vigilantes were also “killed in error” near Molai when some soldiers fired at the direction of advancing terrorists, officials of the youths said.
“We buried all of them around 3pm today (yesterday),” Alhaji Musa, one of their leaders said.
Normalcy has returned to Maiduguri but security forces have cautioned residents to restrict their movement as mop up exercise was ongoing.
“The Boko Haram terrorists have never made an ambitious attempt of taking over Maiduguri like this time,” Mohammed Umar, a senior vigilante member in Maiduguri said.
Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday confirmed Nigerian troops in a mission supported by soldiers from allied neighbours dislodged terrorist from Maiduguri.
In a statement yesterday, the Defence spokesman Major General Olukolade said the military also captured armoured vehicles and artillery guns in an all night operation.
“Several weapons, arms and ammunition including two armoured vehicles and two artillery guns as well as 17 Hilux vehicles have been captured from them. Several terrorists also died,” he added.
“The ongoing operation is in coordination with activities in the Multinational Joint Task. The terrorists are meant to be engaged in all fronts including their previous safe havens and hide outs in the region,” he added.
The DHQ further said: “It is in line with the arrangement for a comprehensive and coordinated military operation with inputs by military forces in the Lake Chad Basin Commission namely Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.”
Protest over attempt to withdraw APCs
Meanwhile, People of Konduga town in Borno State yesterday raised the alarm over alleged attempts by the high military command to withdraw heavy fighting equipment, including Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) from the town.
In the last six months, the Boko Haram insurgents have had more than 20 encounters with troops in Konduga but could not succeed in taking over the town.
Konduga, situated 25 kilometers southeast of Maiduguri is the gateway to the state capital.
It is the only town standing along the Maiduguri-Bama-Gwoza road and the Boko Haram insurgents have been trying unsuccessfully to take over the town.
It was gathered that there was a protest in Konduga on Saturday, by both troops and residents of the town when a senior army officer from Maiduguri went there and ordered the immediate relocation of the APCs to an unknown destination.
A community leader in Konduga, who does not want his name mentioned because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said they were suspicious of the withdrawal order.
“This inglorious attempt must be investigated,” he said. “The truth is, once these armoured tanks are taken away, the terrorists will simply ride over the soldiers stationed here, crush us, the inhabitants and advance to Maiduguri,” he said.
He said instead of taking away the three APCs in the town, “More should be redeployed because Konduga is like a big wall that protects Maiduguri. We have resolved to take our complaint to the Shehu of Borno and Governor Kashim Shettima to seek for their support. If these tanks are taken away, we would be left with no option than to believe that there is grand conspiracy to eliminate us.”

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