Gunmen attack air force base in northeast Nigerian state: police source   2013-12-02 21:26:54            

LAGOS, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram fighters in the early hours of Monday launched a massive attack on the Nigerian Air Force Base in northeast city of Maiduguri in Borno State, killing an undisclosed number of people, and forced the government to impose a 24-hour curfew, a competent police source said.

The police source told Xinhua that the insurgents invaded the restive city and launched coordinated attacks on the 79 Composite Group of the Nigerian Air Force, 33 Artillery Battalion and a trailer park along Maiduguri-Kano road.

He said scores including military personnel may have died in the attack described as bloody by an army source.

A military spokesperson in the state, Colonel Muhammad Dole confirmed the attack but claimed it was repelled.

"In the early hours of Monday, Boko Haram terrorists attempted to gain access to own locations (Own locations according to Dole mean military formations) in the metropolis. However, troops of the 7 division of the Nigerian Army have successfully repelled the insurgents and inflicted serious casualties on them. The situation around Njamtilo and Maiduguri International Airport general areas are calm and under control," he added

"Our troops supported by the Nigerian Air force air-crafts are presently pursuing the terrorist toward the Maiduguri-Benisheik road," he said through a statement, but declined to give further details.

Meanwhile, the Borno State government has imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state following early morning attacks on military formations in the area.

"The Borno State Government in consultation with the GOC 7 Division Nigerian Army has decided to impose a 24-hour curfew on Maiduguri starting from 1100 am today," a government 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," the statement quoted the secretary of Borno state government, Amb Baba Ahmad Jidda as saying.

The state government appealed to residents to remain calm and law abiding until the situation is put under control, adding that security agencies would do everything possible to ensure security of lives and property.

There has been no confirmation of the casualties by either local authorities or the Islamist militant sect Boko Haram, which has recently suffered a deadly blow by the military in the volatile northeastern region of Nigeria.

Boko Haram has been proved the biggest security threat in the West African country since it launched the insurgency in 2009.

It seeks to enshrine the Islamic Sharia law into the constitution and declared war against Western education.


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