Nigeria: Army Thwarts Boko Haram Attack on Maiduguri
Boko Haram terrorists made a failed Christmas Day attempt to attack Nigeria's major northeast city of Maiduguri as they were pushed out by Nigerian soldiers after a prolonged gun battle, military sources said.
The terrorists in "several" pickup trucks opened fire on a military checkpoint on the Molai outskirts of the city at around 5:30 pm on Monday, triggering a gun fight that lasted for more than an hour.
"The terrorists came in several pickups and engaged troops at Molai who fought and repelled the attack with aerial support," said a senior military officer in Maiduguri.
"It was clear they wanted to overrun the checkpoint and enter the city to cause mayhem," said the military officer who requested anonymity.
The gunmen used the cover of a convoy of civilian vehicles under military escort returning from the town of Damboa, 90 kilometers away, to launch the attack, said Ibrahim Liman, a militia leader assisting the Nigerian army in fighting the terrorists.
"One of the Boko Haram vehicles infiltrated the middle section of a civilian convoy...and engaged soldiers," Liman said.
Boko Haram reinforcements lurking in the nearby Cashew Plantation and Jiddari Polo areas joined in the battle, Liman added.
Boko Haram's eight-year insurgency killed 20,000 people and displaced 2.6 million more in Nigeria. In recent months attacks on military and civilian targets as well as raids on remote villages in the northeast have increased.
The surge in attacks has been attributed to Boko Haram's desperate search for much-needed weapons and food supplies following military offensives which cut off the militants' supply routes.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team