Maiduguri, Borno State – Fifteen civilians and six insurgents died, while seventeen others were injured in the massive shootout and a series of explosions that shook Maiduguri on Monday.
The Defence Headquarters in Abuja said soldiers blew up three out of four explosives-laden vehicles driven by suspected suicide bombers in Mulai, a community on the outskirts of Maiduguri. The terrorists, however, managed to blow up the fourth vehicle.
According to the Defence ministry, fifteen civilians and six terrorists lost their lives, while five soldiers and 12 civilians sutained injuries. A member of the youth vigilante group was among those who died. Also, a survivng suicide bomber has been arrested.
Apart from the four vehicles carrying improvised explosive devices (IEDs), eight more vehicles were destroyed in the course of the terrorists' attack.
In an earlier interview, Olukolade said that army troops had fired at terrorists driving cars loaded with IEDs, acting on an intelligence tip-off. He added that the initial intention was to arrest the insurgents, but they defied the security checks.
Sources indicate that the militants were headed for a massive NNPC-owned fuel station located on the Maiduguri-Damboa Road, in hopes of inflicting maximum casualties.
Residents of the area lament that the incident has crippled business activities and halted human and vehicular traffic. People are still counting their losses and make preparations to bury their dead.
Mobile policemen and soldiers had cordoned off the area immediately after the incident. More security operatives are being deployed to the area to scrutinize the identities of road users and passersby.