Security forces fortified a strategically important city in the country’s northeast, following an audacious attack by militants on a nearby town that required helicopter gunships to repel.
Sani Usman, a military spokesman based in Maiduguri, a regional center for commerce, said troops were strengthening defenses and imposing a curfew around the city following an attack on Monday on the town of Bama, about 44 miles away. “We are in control of Bama and we are also reinforcing security,” he said.
Troops and tanks were seen moving toward Bama on Tuesday. Residents of nearby Konduga, who fled the fighting, said they observed military convoys on the road to the town. “I believe the military are on top of the situation but I and my family don’t want to take chances,” said one.
On Monday, about 30 fighters suspected of belonging to the militant group Boko Haram attacked Bama. Ten people were killed in the assault, which prompted a counterattack from Nigeria’s military that stretched into Tuesday.
A member of the local vigilante group said that insurgents killed some of his fellow fighters in the initial attack. Later, a military helicopter was seen hovering over Bama and bombarding insurgent hide-outs. “Many of the Boko Haram terrorists were repelled by both ground and air troops,” the vigilante said.
Nigeria’s military spokesman, Chris Olukolade, said that the security operation was continuing in the area and that “no part of Nigeria would be ceded to any terrorist group.”