From Timothy Olanrewaju Maiduguri
The combined efforts of military troops and men of the special police force halted the advancement of Boko Haram into Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Tuesday, eyewitnesses and survivors say.
The residents said over a dozen Boko Haram militants on motorcycles and gun trucks circumvented security measures at the city outskirts as they advanced towards the Jiddari Polo, some three kilometres to the city centre,Tuesday evening.
‘They came around 5 pm. They parked their motorcycles and vehicles somewhere down the road. I fled my house with other people when they started firing. They were carrying big guns. I met some of them along the road while fleeing but they told me they were not looking for me. They said, don’t fear, we have targets not people like you,’ Hajiya Hadiza (other names withheld) told Daily Sun on Wednesday near the scene of attack.
Another resident, Malam Dani, said he escaped the over an hour heavy firing by divine intervention.
‘Alhamudullah (Praise be to God). I never knew I will not be killed. Some Boko Haram ran into our direction when soldiers and policemen were pursuing them. Gun shots was coming from everywhere. Then policemen were throwing teargas, so Boko Haram people could not run very well,’ he disclosed.
Daily Sun also gathered from the residents that some of the insurgents escaped with two vehicles belonging to the community members. It was also gathered that two residents were killed in the attack, though the reporter could not officially authenticate the claim as at press time.
Army spokesman Brig-Gen Mohamamed Yerima, in a statement on Wednesday, said troops foiled the attack.
‘Troops of Operation HADIN KAI (new operational name) on Tuesday, 11 May, 2021, foiled attempts by Boko Haram terrorists to attack the outskirt of Maiduguri, Borno State,’ he disclosed.
He said Boko Haram tried to advance from Aldawari axis to carry out attacks on soft targets along Jiddari Polo. He said the insurgents were countered by a ‘combined gallant troops in conjuction with the Nigeria Police, youth vigilantes and hunters leading to terrorists withdrawal in dissary.’
Yerima said nine of the terrorists were killed while some escaped with gunshots wounds. He also said one Buffalo gun truck, three motorcycles, three Browning machine guns, a rocket propelled gun and four AK-47 rifles were recovered from the terrorists.
Others items recovered include an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and sixteen 12V batteries.
The attack, which lasted for over two hours, came a year after the last raid on the area. Boko Haram had attacked Jiddari Polo area on February 12, 2020, hours after the visit of President Buhari to the capital.