The suspects fled to Cameroon.
At least two Nigerian soldiers, four police officers, and several civilians were reportedly killed when the country’s security forces engaged Boko Haram terrorists in a fierce gun battle in Banki border town of Borno State, witnesses and security officials said.
The Nigerian military had, Wednesday, deployed both land and air troops to battle the Boko Haram insurgents who invaded at about 2 a.m., shooting and maiming the residents as well as bombing the police post.
The witnesses from Banki Village said the attackers, who were armed with sophisticated weapons, shot sporadically at residents after invading the sleeping town.
A survivor, John Samuel, said the suspected Boko Haram gunmen came in large numbers riding motorcycles and vans as they threw bombs that destroyed the police outpost and several other buildings.
“They used sophisticated guns and bombed the police station which went up in flames, and many villagers were killed and injured, as we ran for our dear lives,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that at least two soldiers died and several others were badly injured during the attack, though the Nigeria Army did not make an official comment.
Also, according to a police source, four police officers of the anti-terrorist squad of Borno State Police Command were killed when they moved into the battle territory and got ambushed by the Boko Haram gunmen.
However, the Borno State Police Commissioner, Lawan Tanko, who confirmed the incident to journalists in Maiduguri, said only a police officer got killed during the attack, that started at about 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
“I can confirm that there was an attack on Banki town by suspected Boko Haram group in the early hours of Wednesday in which my station in Banki was partially affected. I lost an officer and some of our men sustained injuries”, he narrated.
The military spokesperson of the 7-Division in Maiduguri, Muhammad Dole, had also confirmed the incident and upheld the claims of the police commissioner, he, however did not confirm the death of any soldier.
A source at the Brigadier Mai Malari Barracks revealed to PREMIUM TIMES that the report of the two killed soldiers – one Lance Corporal and a Private got to their families today.
PREMIUM TIMES was told that after a sustained onslaught from both land and air troops, the terrorists escaped to a hamlet called Amchide in Cameroon and from there, fled to another border village called Garin-Limami, still in Cameroon.
The BBC had Thursday night reported the same attack in its Hausa News Service in which it also claimed that soldiers died during the attack. The BBC report also said the airstrike, though not targeted at Cameroonians on the other side of the Nigerian border, had, however, destroyed property of people there – a situation that has since stirred the angst of the Cameroon government in the area.
Banki is about 160km away from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Borno, as well as Adamawa and Yobe, is under emergency as soldiers try to defeat the Boko Haram.