The Boko Haram faction of Abubakar Shekau has said that it was responsible for the of attacks on Maiduguri, capital of Borno State on Wednesday and that if he dies his kids and grandchildren will continue from where we stopped.
During Wednesday’s attack, approximately eleven people were reportedly killed when Boko Haram gunmen and suicide bombers launched a rare combined attack inside Maiduguri.
Boko Haram has killed over 20,000 people since it took up arms against the Nigerian government in 2009 to establish a hardline Islamist state.
The insurgency has decimated northeast Borno state with the violence displacing 2.6 million from their homes and causing a hunger crisis.
“Some suspected Boko Haram attempted to attack a village far off and our troops ranged (subdued) them,” Nigerian military spokesman Brigadier-General Sani Usman said in a short statement. “There was an attempt by a few suspected Boko Haram to attack… and all have been neutralized. Situation cool and calm,” Usman said.
The attacks took place just a day before Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was set to visit the city.
Residents said earlier, a group of fighters believed to be loyal to embattled Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau led the attack starting around 5:00 pm (1800 GMT) in the Aridawari settlement on the outskirts of the city.
“The gunmen came to the village firing heavy guns and setting fire to homes,” said Aridawari resident Musa Umara. People were “fleeing in all directions,” Umara added. The suspected jihadists then drove towards a military base through Jiddari-Polo neighbourhood firing heavy guns, said resident Salihu Abdallah. “They (attackers) were confronted by soldiers when they approached Giwa (military) barracks at around 6:30 pm (1900 GMT),” said Abdallah.
“I and my family hid in the kitchen as soldiers fought the Boko Haram gunmen because the sounds of the heavy guns were terrifying,” said a teacher at the Maiduguri university located near the military base.
The attack comes after a lull in Boko Haram activity as the Nigerian military continues a sustained offensive against the deadly terrorist group.
Last month, Nigeria released five Boko Haram commanders in exchange for 82 schoolgirls who were among the group of over 200 kidnapped by the Islamists from the town of Chibok three years ago.
In a video released online days after the prisoner swap, one of the released commanders threatened to attack Maiduguri and Nigeria’s capital of Abuja.
The group in the video, obtained by Saharareporters Saturday, showed the insurgents’ attack on Maiduguri, displaying uniforms, shoes, ID cards, arms and ammunition the group claimed their fighters seized from the military during the attack.
The factional leader of Boko Haram said the group was determined to fight on and that there was no room for any dialogue.
He cited Somalia, Afghanistan, and Syria, where Islamist groups have waged longstanding wars. Mr. Shekau rebuked those who have been claiming that the Islamist group’s war around Lake Chad was over. “Our kids and grandchildren will continue from where we stopped,” he vowed.