TENSION IN DAMATURU AS BOKO HARAM AND SOLDIERS, OTHER SECURITY FORCES EXCHANGE GUNFIRE

NIGERIAN MILITARY

Michael Olugbode in Damaturu

There was panic thursday evening as Boko Haram tried to overrun Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

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The residents of the town were forced to scamper for safety, with streets deserted as gunshots and heavy explosions were heard along Gashua road at the outskirts of the town.

Many residents in the outskirts had to migrate into the centre of the town for fear of being cut down in the crossfire.

Many motorists who were trying to travel out of Damaturu through Gashua roads were turned back by the military.

It was gathered from some residents who spoke to THISDAY on phone that the siege was laid at about 5p.m.

The military first engaged the insurgents in exchange of gunfire but had to call for air reinforcements as the battle seems to drag.

It was until the warplane which apparently flew in from Maiduguri bombarded the insurgents that the military pushed them back.

Though it was hard as at press time to give the number of casualties but residents said the insurgents suffered collateral damage.

Three residents, Zannah Zakariya, Hassan Salisu and Fatima Abdullahi, of Sindiri village along Gasua road, about 10 kilometres from Damaturu who spoke separately with THISDAY confirmed the attack.

They said they heard heavy gunfire around military checkpoint at the Police Headquarters along Gashua Road in Damaturu.

They also said two NAF jets flew over the area engaging the insurgents in fire.

Sources living around the attacked area, told THISDAY that the attackers suspected to be Boko Haram came close to lay siege on Damaturu.

They said the insurgents are believed to have come from Sasawa village through Dab-nya.

Located at that axis are villages linking Yobe and Borno states. They have thick vegetation and link Yobe with northern part of Borno State, which is believed to be one of the enclaves of Boko Haram.

The Yobe State Police Commissioner, Yahaya Abubakar said it took the collaboration of the Army, Police and other security agencies, assisted by two fighter jets to successfully repel the attackers.

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