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Troops foil Boko Haram attempt to take over Biu after two-hour gun battle

By Ndahi Marama with agency reports

Maiduguri— The Defence Haedquarters, yesterday, said that soldiers had repelled Boko Haram new attack after a two-hour gun duel in Biu, Borno State.

File: Cameroonian soldiers patrol on November 12, 2014 in Amchide, northern Cameroon, 1 km from Nigeria. The city was raided by Islamists from Nigeria's Boko Haram, killing eight cameroonian soldiers and leading the population to flee on October 15, 2014, before another six coordinated attacks that killed at least three civilians in the remote north of the country, on November 9, 2014. Boko Haram's five-year insurgency in neighboring Nigeria has left thousands dead, and the Islamists have occasionally carried out attacks over the border. Cameroon has deployed more than 1,000 soldiers in the extreme northeast of the country to counter the Islamist threat. AFP PHOTO

This was made known in its several tweets that the militants had been pushed back from Biu.

According to the military, the troops also captured two anti-aircraft guns belonging to the sect.

“Troops in pursuit of fleeing terrorists as mopping up operation is ongoing. Five terrorists have so far been captured,” it said.

Residents in town, about 200 kilometres southwest of Maiduguri, the state capital, told AFP that scores of militant fighters stormed the town in 10 pick-up trucks at about 7:30 am, yesterday.

But they were intercepted by soldiers from a nearby barracks, leading to a two-hour gunfight.

“Soldiers opened fire on three pick-up vans carrying the gunmen that came as an advance party while the rest remained at a fuel station in Kigir village,” a resident, Babagana Haruna said.

“There were 10 gunmen in each vehicle and all of them were killed in the rain of bullets from the soldiers,” he said, although there was no independent verification of the death toll.

The Islamists’ apparent target was the town’s military base, residents said.

The remaining insurgents then arrived at the scene in vans and motorcycles and 10 more were killed, said another resident, Awwalu Yusuf.

Civilian vigilantes and soldiers pursued the militants into the bush and youths armed with makeshift weapons set up barricades across the town to prevent them from returning.

Biu is a religiously mixed town and the largest in southern Borno. It has been largely spared Boko Haram attacks on nearby villages in the past two years.

Boko Haram on January 3 carried out what is feared to be the worst atrocity in the six-year insurgency, when they attacked the town of Baga in the far north of Borno.

The military claimed this week that 150 people were killed but eye-witnesses and local officials report that hundreds, if not more, lost their lives.

Both claims are impossible to verify, with Boko Haram reportedly still in control of the town.


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