Scores of people are believed to have been killed
Scores of people including military personnel were killed as suspected Boko Haram terrorists early Monday attacked military facilities and civilians in Maiduguri, residents, government sources, and security personnel have said.
Military sources who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday in Maiduguri said they saw more than 500 insurgents riding in various trucks, including an armoured personnel carrier, chanting Islamic slogans and shooting as they attacked the Nigeria Airforce base, the Maiduguri International Airport, and some residential places around the military base.
The state government has since declared a 24 hour curfew on the Borno capital, according to a statement signed by the secretary of the state government, Baba Ahmed Jidda.
Residents around the attacked Air-force base said the attack started about 2:30 a.m. when gun shots and multiple explosions were heard echoing all over the city.
A military source, who sought anonymity as he was not permitted to speak, said three military aircrafts and several vehicles were attacked by the terrorists.
Residents of the Air-force base said a combined effort by soldiers and police officers repelled the insurgents, leading to the death of several people.
“We have seen several vehicles of the insurgents up in flames some smoking with corpses of people burnt inside. Some persons were also seen with slit throats,” a resident of the base said.
The military has since cordoned the vicinity forcing people to trek over 4km to get to the city centre.
The airport, which is the safest route for travellers to Borno, has been shut indefinitely.
Military ambulances were seen conveying corpses to the university teaching hospital from the attacked areas; but the casualty figure is yet to be verified.
The military is yet to issue an official statement.
The only official statement from the government was that announcing the curfew.
“The Borno State Government in Consultation with the GOC 7 Division Nigerian Army (Major General Obida Ethan has decided to impose a 24 hour curfew on Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and environs starting from 11am today Monday, 2nd December, 2013,” the statement said.
“The imposition of the curfew is necessitated by an attack in Maiduguri by people suspected to be Boko Haram members in the early hours of today.”
“During the period of the curfew, Borno State Government pleads with all citizens to remain calm an law abiding until the situation is put under control as the security agencies will do everything possible to maintain lives and property of the citizenry.”
“Only vehicles on emergency call and essential services are allowed to move during the period.”
“The curfew would be lifted as soon as the situation improves,” the government secretary added.”
Meanwhile, schools have immediately closed as parents rushed back to take their children home.
Maiduguri streets have been deserted, while ambułances and security van sirens could be heard blaring.
Borno as been under emergency rule since May with all telephone networks shut down by the government.
Before the early Monday morning attack, the insurgents had been virtually driven out of Maiduguri and mostly attacked neighbouring communities and villages, as well as other areas.