Nigerian soldiers on Sunday morning stopped traffic along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway for three hours as they engaged Boko Haram terrorists in a shootout.After the shootout, the military said soldiers escorted a long convoy of stranded travellers to Damaturu.
Security sources said the shootout took place at Lawan-Mainari village, about two kilometres from Jakana town. The terrorists had reportedly targetted a military base but were repelled.
Jakana is about 41km from Maiduguri, Borno State capital. The town has been attacked several times in the last 10 years.
Confirming the development to our reporter, Bukar Adam, a local security operative who lives in Jakana, said the soldiers halted movement on the highway for over three hours to avoid civilian casualties.
“The Boko Haram gunmen came out through the Lawan-Mainari axis of the highway to probably attack the military base there. They had engaged one another in a shootout for some hour.
“One is not sure if they had repelled the attack but the soldiers are yet to open the roads,” he said.
Senior military personnel who spoke to a PREMIUM TIMES reporter on condition of anonymity also confirmed the incident but declined to give details.
“All I know is that our soldiers are engaging the terrorists who were out to cause mayhem on the highway,” he said.
The Borno State commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Abioye Babalola, also confirmed the development.
He said the attack had been repelled and travellers have been escorted in a long convoy down to Damaturu, the Yobe state capital.
“It was an attack on the military at a location between Jakana and Mainok,” he said.
“The military has effectively repelled the attack and reopened the road for commuters. But we have to provide an escort to them down to Damaturu, to avoid any likelihood of the terrorists returning to attack innocent travellers.”