Nigerian Army has confirmed that 20 persons have been killed including 4 suicide bombers during multiple explosions that occurred at Sajeri area of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital when Nigeria celebrated her 55 years independence anniversary.
The Army also said that 39 other persons were injured in the explosion, which occurred near the Ajilari railway crossing on Independence Day.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the acting Army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman, the security operatives and emergency management team were mobilised to take care of the wounded persons.
Part of the statement reads, “Although details of the attack are still sketchy, suffice it to state that four Boko Haram terrorists detonated their vests simultaneously. Three of the terrorists detonated their bombs in the same area while the fourth detonated in front of a mosque. It has been confirmed that 20 people have lost their lives, including the suicide bombers while 39 others were wounded,’’ the statement said.
The Army spokesman however appealed to residents of Maiduguri metropolis, especially those in the affected areas, to remain calm and continue to be vigilant as security operatives were in control of the situation, even as he assured the public that Boko Haram had been decimated and therefore had no capacity to reverse the progress already made in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday gathered that the attacks happened at about 7.15pm last Thursday when the attackers entered the Borno State capital at about 7:00pm from the Zajeri area and spread to other locations marked as targets.
A resident of one of the areas, Yusuf Imam, said one of the suicide attackers targeted a roadside tea seller, where an explosion killed no fewer than 20 persons.
Another blast was said to have targeted the home of the leader of the youth vigilance group in the area.
During the attack on the vigilance group leader’s house, five persons were said to have been killed while the leader was reported to have sustained injuries.
Imam said two other attacks were targeted at other areas of Zajeri with an unspecified number of people killed.
He said the casualties could have been higher but for the soldiers who came to the rescue of the people of the area and were able to gun down two persons believed to be members of the suicide bombers.
These two were said to have delayed in detonating their explosive devices but after being shot by the soldiers, there were blasts from the bombs strapped on them.
The spokesman for the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Col, Tukur Gusau, said there was no attack on the town, explaining that the explosions were heard from the testing of military equipment.
He said, “There is no cause for alarm. We are testfiring our weapons for night operations efficiency.”
In the meantime, the Army also claimed that 80 Boko Haram terrorists surrendered to troops of the Army 7 Division in Bama Local Government Area of Borno last Thursday.
The Army spokesman, Col. Usman confirmed that the repentant terrorists comprised commanders, foot soldiers and the terrorists’ food suppliers, and that the terrorists surrendered as a result of the intense heat put on them by joint forces operating in different theatres in the North-East.
“The terrorists among whom were commanders, suppliers and foot soldiers confirmed to have taken part in several terrorists attacks especially on Bama town, Borno, surrendered,’’ the statement said.
The army attributed its success to intense heat and the continuous offensive embarked upon by troops. “It will be recalled that we have repeatedly stated that surrender is the only option available to the insurgents.
“The Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force, in conjunction with other security agencies, are totally committed to the achievement of the 3-month Presidential deadline for the eradication of terrorism in Nigeria.
“Other terrorists are encouraged to also surrender or face total annihilation, as the new name of the operation states ‘achievement of total peace is a must’,” it said.


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