Boko Haram militants on Tuesday launched a renewed attack on Maiduguri just days after the military repelled an assault on the key city. Residents said the Islamists arrived in the Moronti area of the city by river but were unable to advance further because of wide ditches and embankments dug by soldiers around the city limits.
They then began shelling Ajillari Cross, about three kilometres (two miles) away at about 12:45 am. There was no immediate word on damage or casualties. “We were bombarded by RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) by Boko Haram from Moronti,” Isa Mala, who lives in Ajillari Cross, told newmen. “We all left our homes for fear of being hit inside.
It was dark so we could see the trajectory of the RPGs, which were red with heat. “Soon afterwards, we saw troops in trucks moving towards Moronti and then a fighter jet also deployed not long afterwards.”
Kyari Bulunkutu, who lives near Mala, gave the same account and added: “At about two in the morning it was all over but I haven’t been able to see whether there was any damage or casualties.” Boko Haram launched a similar attack nearby early on Saturday, just hours after Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as Nigeria’s new president and called the group “godless” and “mindless”.
Buhari has pledged to move the military’s counter-insurgency command centre to Maiduguri, which is the capital of Borno state and has suffered the worst violence in the six-year insurgency. The Islamists were later suspected of a suicide attack at a mosque in the city on Saturday, which killed 26 people and injured 28 others.