Terrorist group Boko Haram early this morning stormed Maidugiri, capital of Borno State, in a bid to take over the city for the second time in the space of a week.
The insurgents engaged the Nigerian military in a gun battle for hours, but were successfully repelled by the soldiers.
Sahara Reporters reports that a rocket fired by Boko Haram killed ten people in a water packaging factory and a nearby church. Military sources said the battle is still ongoing with military and local vigilantes chasing militants towards Muina garage area of Maiduguri.
Residents told AFP by telephone that the Islamist assault began at roughly 3am this morning and that fierce fighting was taking place at the southern edge of the city between the insurgents and troops backed by vigilantes.
“The whole city is in fear,” said resident Adam Krenuwa. “People are afraid of what will happen if Boko Haram defeats the security forces.”
Boko Haram’s last attempt to take over Maiduguri last week ago was repelled by the military.
However, in that assault, the insurgents captured the town of Monguno just 125 kilometres outside the city and seized control of a military base.
According to Vanguard, the situation forced many residents on the outskirts of the city to run into town as churches were hurriedly closed.
Daily Trust reports that "intense pressure" by troops from Chad and Cameroon along the borders has unsettled the insurgents who are now looking for soft targets.
A long trench dug around Maiduguri is said to be giving Nigerian troops an edge over the insurgents who are finding it difficult to storm the city except through major roads.
Resident Fannami Dalwaye said the fighting at 9am was concentrated in Mulai, three kilometres south of the city, and more vigilantes were seen deploying to the area as reinforcements.
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“People are fleeing into the city,” Dalwaye said.
However, Thisday reports that not less than 82 persons were killed in today's attempted invasion of Maiduguri by the Islamic fundamentalists.
One of the members of the vigilante group, Abba Modu, who was involved in the battle against the terrorist group claimed that not less than 500 insurgents were killed at the points of entry into the town where the insurgents tried to invade from.
Security sources who spoke anonymously to Thisday, said not less than 70 insurgents were killed, while ten innocent civilians were caught in the attempted invasion of the state capital.
Security sources also said that 50 insurgents were killed in Dalwa, about 20 kilometres from Maiduguri, where the battle was fiercest as the insurgents met their Waterloo.
Meanwhile, the army moved more than 70 female soldiers out of the town last week because of reports that the town will soon be attacked.