- 4 trucks burnt, many terrorists, civilians feared killed in blasts and Cross-Fire
- Many terrorists, civilians feared killed in blasts, crossfire
In what would have been one of the most audacious attacks by Boko Haram insurgents meant to cause maximum damage, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said eight suspected suicide bombers in a Volkswagen Golf laden with explosives, attacked the eastern flank of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital late on Thursday into early morning yesterday.
NEMA’s Head of Media and Public Relations, Sani Datti, who disclosed this in a statement in Maiduguri, yesterday, said the blasts killed two civilians and injured seven Civilian JTF members.
Other sources said several Boko Haram terrorists, including civilians, were feared killed in a fierce crossfire between troops and the insurgents, who attempted to infiltrate the eastern flank of Maiduguri metropolis around 11:30pm on Thursday, leading to the exchange of gunfire.
Datti said the insurgents burst into the metropolis through Mafa-Dikwa axis in an unmarked Golf Volkswagen vehicle, laden with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and the teenage female suicide bombers, before detonating the explosives at Muna Garage.
The statement read: “The driver of the vehicle attempted to overrun the security post where the security personnel were stationed, but few of the personnel sustained minor injuries, while the remaining bombers detonated their IEDs in some of the communities in Muna Dalti settlement.
“Seven Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) sustained minor injuries and were taken to University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH).
“Some of the suicide bombers found their way to a place where people gathered with their trucks loaded with goods for onward movement to Mafa, Dikwa and Ngala Councils.
“Over 14 loaded trucks were burnt by the suicide bombers, though no casualty was recorded. “The seven corpses of the suicide bombers were evacuated to the State Specialist Hospital by NEMA and Borno SEMA teams.”
Another source said a female suicide bomber, following the failed infiltration by the insurgents, however, sneaked into a convoy of vehicles waiting for military escort to Gambouru Ngala in the morning of yesterday and detonated the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) strapped to her body, blowing herself up in the process.
“This was followed by sporadic exchange of gunfire and sound of explosions around Muna Garage general area of the metropolis,” Yakubu Isa of Civilian JTF said at the scene.
Isa said six members of Civilian JTF sustained injuries, while attempting to repel the attacks in the Mafa-Maiduguri axis.Yesterday’s incident came barely 48 hours after some group of terrorists attacked an Air Force helicopter conveying a medical team to Gwoza.
Fortunately, the pilot of the aircraft escaped unhurt in the Wednesday attack, while one of the airman sustained injuries.Another Civilian JTF member, Usman Ali, in a telephone interview yesterday in Maiduguri, said: “Boko Haram terrorists, including suicide bombers, tried to storm Maiduguri metropolis, but our gallant soldiers defeated them.
“They tried to infiltrate the city through the newly-constructed Customs House, where thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Ajiri and Anadua communities of Mafa Council are camped.
“Privileged information indicated that most of the insurgents were killed by our gallant troops of Operation Lafiya Dole. However, an unconfirmed number of people also lost their lives, with others seriously injured.”
Residents of 505 Abba Gana Terab Housing Estates, which is two kilometres from the scene, confirmed the attacks, pointing out that most of them had to vacate the estate and hanged out at the main gate and after an hour, they started seeing security agencies and ambulances conveying those affected from the Muna Garage camp to hospitals for treatment.
Meanwhile, the Borno State Police Command has confirmed the suicide attacks on Maiduguri metropolis, saying that a female suicide bomber blew up herself in the early hours of yesterday.
Spokesman of the Command,Victor Isuku, said only one suicide bomber died in the attack.But conflicting reports from reliable sources said scores of insurgents, who attempted to infiltrate Maiduguri, the state capital, were killed, including some civilians.
Isuku, in a statement yesterday, said: “Yesterday, about 2318hrs, a suicide bomber sneaked into the midst of 13 pick-up trucks loaded with goods along Maiduguri/Mafa road, said to be awaiting departure to Gambouru Ngala early hours of today (yesterday) and detonated IEDs strapped on self.
“The resulting explosions razed down the parked vehicles beyond recognition. The police Explosives Ordinance Department (EOD) patrol team was promptly deployed to the scene to restore safety & normalcy.”
Group-Capt. Ayodele Famuyiwa, Air Force Director of Public Relations and Information, said the insurgents shot at the Mi-17 helicopter severally.
Famuyiwa said the helicopter was conveying personnel and had departed from Maiduguri en route the venue of the two-day medical outreach programme in Gwoza when it came under attack by the insurgents.
“Nevertheless, the pilot was able to fly the helicopter safely to and from its destination to enable the outreach program to continue uninterrupted.
“Following the attack, the NAF immediately scrambled a fighter aircraft and helicopter gunship to the location between Bama and Gwoza to neutralise the threat.
“The military’s counter-attack led to the death of scores of Boko Haram members, he added.There have been isolated attacks by Boko Haram on soldiers and civilians targets, despite being declared “defeated” by the government and military authorities, following the capture of the operational headquarters in Sambisa Forest last year.
Source: The Guardian