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18 Killed in Boko Haram Attack on Nigerian Army Base, Villages

18 Killed in Boko Haram Attack  on Nigerian Army Base, Villages18 Killed in Boko Haram Attack  on Nigerian Army Base, Villages

Boko Haram fighters attacked a military base and two surrounding villages near the flashpoint Nigerian city of Maiduguri overnight, killing at least 18 people and wounding 84, officials said on Monday.

It was one of the most brazen attacks in recent months and was a precursor to a planned strike on Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State and the birthplace of the hardline extremist group, AFP reported.

Boko Haram fighters attacked the base in the Cashew Plantation area on the outskirts of the city with suicide bombers, mortars and guns, leading to a prolonged battle, a senior military officer in Maiduguri said.

“Eighteen Boko Haram terrorists on foot attacked the military base while seven suicide bombers targeted residents of nearby Bale Shuwar and Alikaranti villages at 8:50 pm (1950 GMT),” said the officer who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about the incident.

“The terrorists fired mortars at troops,” the officer said.

“So far we have recovered 18 dead bodies from the two villages,” Benlo Dambatto, an official from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) told AFP.

“The victims were killed while trying to escape the fight between the insurgents and the military,” said Dambatto.

It was not immediately clear if the casualties involved only civilians or included the militants and soldiers as well.

The attackers were trying to infiltrate into the city, said Ba’Kura Abba Ali, a militia leader in the area helping soldiers in fighting Boko Haram.

The assailants climbed up a moat dug round the city to stave off Boko Haram suicide and gun attacks, and attacked troops, Ali said.

On Friday, four teenage girl suicide bombers killed two people in multiple attacks in Zawuya settlement on the outskirts of Maiduguri in the first assault since the government announced it was in ceasefire talks with Boko Haram.

The self-styled Islamic State-affiliated terrorist faction reportedly in talks with the government is led by Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi and is known for attacks on military targets, while another faction led by Abubakar Shekau is notorious for suicide bombings killing civilians.

The attacks highlight the challenge the government faces in striking a ceasefire agreement with the factionalized Boko Haram.

 

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