At least seven persons were on Sunday killed after suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked two vehicles traveling along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, sources said.
The attack took place on the outskirts of Auno, a village not more than 20km away from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The victims were said to be travelling during the late hours when they came under attack.
The government of Borno State had two weeks ago placed a movement restriction on all roads leading to and from the state, but the main highway to the state, popularly called Kano-Maiduguri road, still remained open to motorists.
The state’s committee on COVID-19, led by the deputy governor, Umar Kadafur, on Sunday announced the shutdown of the remaining road. The new order is to come into effect Monday.
A witness who was traveling out of Maiduguri said he saw at least seven bodies on the road just outside Auno village.
“We just came across a scene of suspected Boko Haram attack here in Auno, and residents said the attack took place last night,” the source said.
“From what I hurriedly counted there were seven corpses and I saw two vehicles that were set ablaze – a Toyota Hilux and a truck filled with bags of beans that are still smoking.”
An official of the road transport workers, Malam Ali, also confirmed the attack to PREMIUM TIMES.
“We heard that a truck was burnt down near Auno but honestly I don’t have information on the number of persons killed in the incident,” he said.
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The military and the police did not responded to calls seeking comments on the said attack.
Phone calls to Edet Okon, the Borno police spokesperson, and Sagir Musa, acting director of Army public relations, were not answered.
Auno is one of the flashpoints of Boko Haram attacks in recent times. The insurgents, according to residents and security sources, normally take advantage of the cattle route near Auno village to sneak out of the bush and carry out attacks.
The attack came few days after the Chief of Army, Tukur Buratai, announced his full relocation to the northeast with a mission to lead troops in the final defeat of Boko Haram.