Nigerian soldiers and suspected members of the Boko Haram last night engaged in hours of fierce battle in Jakana, a village 42km from Maiduguri, the state capital.
The attack on Jakana is the latest in a series of hostilities that have been taking place on the relatively safe route that presently links Borno State with the rest of the country.
Located along the Maiduguri-Kano highway, which also links the state with Yobe, Jakana has in the past weeks become a major flashpoint of Boko Haram activities.
According to an official of the Civilian JTF, the insurgents stormed the village last night at about 7.30 p.m. and began to shoot sporadically. They were however confronted by the troops deployed to the area.
“The exchange of fire lasted for about two hours but the military alongside our Civilian-JTF members, were able to repel the attack after killing many Boko Haram fighters,” said Bello Danbatta, a top official of the C-JTF.
He said the full account of what happened and the number of casualties likely incurred in the attack, would be made known later on Sunday morning.
“But for now, at least eight corpses of the Boko Haram have been recovered,” he said.
Mid last year, the military embarked on the massive evacuation of the Jakana villagers to a camp for displaced persons as soldiers embarked on general combing of the bushes around the village.
The development then generated intense public criticism as the military was generally condemned for not only abusing the rights of the villagers but also of the travelers who had to spend the night on the highway due to closure of the road.
The Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Olusegun Adeniyi, had in the past weeks informed journalists that “we all need to be worried about the conduct of the residents of villages like Jakana and Mainok which are located along Maiduguri-Damaruru.”
Mr Adeniyi said “credible intel” indicates that some of the villagers have been aiding and abetting the Boko Haram.
The Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria has caused almost 40,000 deaths since 2009, according to the UN.
The insurgents who have since split into factions have been restricted to three Northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe by security forces.