The military yesterday said no fewer than 20 persons, including a soldier, were killed on Sunday night in a battle to ward off a large number of suicide bombers trying to invade Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. About 84 others were injured.
Soldiers on the outskirts of Maiduguri also gunned down six armed Boko Haram gunmen and seven suicide bombers during the attack, bringing the death toll on both sides to 29.
Residents of Maiduguri were forced to keep vigil all Sunday night following hours of thunderous explosions and shootings that rented the air till early hours of Monday.
The military said Boko Haram suicide bombers and gunmen attempted to invade Maiduguri through the outskirts of Bille-Shuwa and Alikaranti villages.
“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 as he was not authorised to speak about the incident.
“The terrorists fired mortars at troops,” the officer said.
Bello Dambatto, chief security officer at the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), told AFP that an initial death toll of 18 had risen to 20 after two people died in hospital from their wounds.
The Police confirmed 20 persons killed and 84 injured.
Commissioner of Police Damian Chukwu said five mutilated bodies of male suicide bombers were recovered and two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) vests were diffused by men of the command at the scene of the attack.
He said: “On 01/04/2018 at about 20:20 pm; Boko Haram terrorists in an attempt to infiltrate into Maiduguri through Bale Kura, Bale Shuwari, Jamine and Alkaramti villages in Jere local government area of the state, in the outskirts of Maiduguri detonated IEDs.
“They were promptly repelled by military and police reinforcement. In the process about 84 persons were injured and 20 others killed.”
Chukwu added that normalcy had been restored to the area and called on people to go about their lawful businesses.