The governor said the attack targeted to disrupt Eidel Kabir celebration
Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, has backed claims by the military Tuesday that troops had foiled an attack by Islamist fighters who sought to disrupt the Muslim festival of Eidel Kabir.
Speaking during Eidel Kabir luncheon held in Government House, Maiduguri, shortly after the Eid prayers, Mr Shettima praised the security forces and the civilian-JTF for their bravery and sacrifice.
“We have to commend the civilian-JTF for rising against the challenges of the time even as they pay the supreme sacrifice, because some them were killed trying to defend their father land. They deserve our prayers, support and commendation,” the governor said.
“We also want to specially commend the officers and men of the Nigerian armed forces for depriving themselves of what we enjoy daily just to ensure that we are safe and protected. We wouldn’t have been celebrating Sallah today but for their efforts.”
Military authorities said earlier that troops killed at least 40 fighters, after foiling an assault by the militants on military units in three parts of the state.
The attack, according to a military spokesperson and Acting Deputy Director Army Public Relations 7th Division, Maiduguri, Captain Aliyu Danja, was tactically carried out to foil an earlier plot by the terrorists to mar the Muslim Eidel Kabir festival.
Mr Danja said in a statement issued on Tuesday that at least 40 members of Boko Haram were killed during a proactive offensive against the terrorists.
“The terrorists who are of unknown strength attempted coordinated simultaneous attacks on Bama, Gwoza and Pulka towns in Borno state on the night of Sunday, 13th October 2013,” Captain Danja said.
He said troops destroyed a pick-up truck loaded with bombs. He added that separately, air strikes on a Boko Haram base in Kilani had “neutralized” fighters there, he added.
The figures could not be independently verified.
The military’s statement came as London-based human rights body, Amnesty International, called for investigations into the alleged deaths of hundreds of people in detention facilities during a crackdown on Islamist groups in Nigeria, saying it has evidence.
In a report on Tuesday, Amnesty said that “credible information” from a senior Nigerian army officer indicated that more than 950 people suspected of having links to Boko Haram died in military custody in the first six months of this year.