4 March 2013

Nigeria: Soldiers Kill 20 in Borno as Insurgents Attack Barracks

Maiduguri — The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State yesterday said soldiers have killed 20 suspected members of the Jama'atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda'awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, who attacked a military barracks in Monguno, north of Maiduguri, the state capital.

JTF was silent on the casualty on its side during the attack, but locals and reliable security sources said one soldier was killed in the attack which lasted for an hour.

Monguno is about 200km away from Maiduguri, and the road also leads to Baga, on the shores of the Lake Chad.

It was gathered that before heading to Monguno, the insurgents, moving in commando style, had earlier attacked Baderi, a village in Marte local government where they killed the village head, Lawan Kafu, 65.

The attacks came just as leader of the Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau denied that the group is holding peace talks with the federal government, promising to unleash more violence on symbols of authority.

Spokesman of the JTF Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa who confirmed the attack on the military facility in Monguno in a press statement yesterday, said it was heavily repelled.

"Information available to the JTF indicated that some Boko Haram terrorists attempted to attack a military barracks at Monguno at about 5 am on Sunday 3 March, 2013. The attack was repelled by the FOB's and JTF troops at the outskirts, of the barracks. The encounter led to the death of 20 Boko Haram terrorists," the statement said.

The statement said seven AK47 rifles, 10 rocket propelled grenades, 2 RPG Tubes, large quantity of assorted ammunitions and 8 assorted magazines were recovered.

It added that 3 four-wheel vehicles and eight motor-cycles used by the insurgents were destroyed by the JTF.

Residents of Monguno said the sound of gun shots disrupted their sleep, and they could not go out for the morning prayers.

Our correspondents report that the attack on the Monguno barracks was launched less than 12 hours after the leader of the Boko Haram, Imam Muhammad Abubakar Shekau released videos where he denied that his group was holding any peace talks with government.

In the said video clips, Shekau promised renewed attacks on symbols of authority.

Shekau said: "Whoever kills any of our members should await a grave retaliation from us." He admitted that the group has had difficulties placing its messages online recently, requiring them to pass them through messengers.

In a related development, the JTF statement also said that based on intelligence report, a special operation was conducted which resulted in the arrest of two high profile Boko Haram commanders who were responsible for Thursday's explosions in Maiduguri while some state governors were meeting in the state capital.

"Those arrested are in JTF custody undergoing interrogation," the statement said.

Daily Trust reported on Friday that about four explosives were detonated Thursday at separate locations in Maiduguri while the governors were still in town.

In the ensuing trouble which led to the death of some soldiers, civilians and insurgents, the visiting governors, who are members of opposition political parties concluded the meeting and even visited traders in a market.

Yesterday, Maiduguri residents also reported hearing gunshots. Daily Trust learnt that it was an attempted attack on the Lamisula police station in the state capital by insurgents, which was repelled by security forces. As at the time of filing this report, spokesman of the police, Gideon Jibrin could not be reached for comment on the incident.

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