Northern Nigeria saw Boko Haram militants launch a daring raid on the military in the city of Maiduguri. According to reports hundreds of heavily armed Islamist gunmen attacked an air force and army base, destroying aircraft, and setting buildings on fire. The raid led to the government declaring a 24-hour curfew that shut airspace and cut off roads.
This latest attack voids military claims that they had the Boko Haram on the run out of major cities into the rural areas of Borno state.
“I saw two air force helicopters burnt while in the whole of the 79 Composite Group (of the Nigerian Air Force) few buildings are still standing. Most of the structures have been attacked and destroyed,” said one man in an AFP report.
It was also reported that two people had been shot dead. There was no immediate confirmation of fatalities or other casualties from the authorities.
The Nigerian army’s spokesman in Maiduguri, Colonel Muhammed Dole, said the Boko Haram fighters had been “successfully repelled” and had suffered “serious casualties”, without specifying numbers.
The areas around the airport were “calm and under control”, Dole said, adding: “Our troops supported by the Nigerian Air Force aircrafts are presently pursuing the terrorists towards the Maiduguri-Benisheik road.”