Scores of Insurgents Feared Killed In Heavy Gun Fire with Military
Nigeria’s military spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade, said Friday that scores of gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamic group, Boko Haram, were feared killed during a gun duel with the Nigerian Military troops in towns outskirt of Maiduguri metropolis, Borno State capital.
Olukolade, revealed this to our Correspondent in a telephone interview from Abuja. According to him, “As I am talking to you now, bombardment of suspected targets is going on in outskirts of Maiduguri, and scores of Insurgents have been killed. But I cannot give you the exact number now, because Military activity is still going now.”
He said that the Nigerian Military is taking up Boko Haram snipers from different perspectives. “We are attacking from the air, land and other means I would not tell you. As we are talking now some of them have retreated and fled into neighbouring Chad and Niger Republic, but our soldiers are going after them with the aide of our air intelligence.”
He also said that soldiers were placed on high alert in the troubled Maiduguri, in the South East, Northern Nigeria, because of an earlier threat by Boko Haram to attack Maiduguri on Wednesday.
“Since on Wednesday, we have had the surrounding towns and villages around Maiduguri under our control, following reports that violent Islamist Boko Haram militants have taken over nearby towns and soon would attack the northern city. The reports created panic among residents about the alleged imminent Boko Haram attack.”
Olukolade said “alarmists” are to blame for the panic among the population, following what he said were false reports being peddled, which were intended to create tension.
“Most of these claims are intended to be alarmist and to cause fear in the public, perhaps also divert attention, but we are not taking it lightly,” said Olukolade. “So what we did was to firm up and upgrade all the defense arrangements around Maiduguri city and the environs to ensure that terrorists and their allies don’t find it easy to assault that town.”
Olukolade said the military did not dismiss the reports, despite what he said was an attempt by some people to create chaos.
“The alert state in the town has been heightened among the security agencies, as well as the community. There is a high degree of alertness at the moment, which we believe is sufficient to frustrate any such evil plan,” he said.
Olukolade declined to outline a potential military strategy, which could include a troop increase to counter the Boko Haram security threat in some of the northern towns.
“The security arrangement is not dependent entirely on the number of troops, but on many factors, some of which I shouldn’t be disclosing, but that is not ruled out as well,” he said. “We believe that the arrangement in totality, and in consult with the entire populace, is sufficient to hold and frustrate that evil plan.”
It would be recalled that some prominent leaders in the north have called on the military to bolster security in Maiduguri since they said nearby towns have been overrun by the militants. They contended that the militants could attack Maiduguri if the military fails to demonstrate a heavy presence in the city.
However, Olukolade had earlier called on Maiduguri residents not to succumb to fear.