Published On: Tue, Dec 3rd, 2013

Boko Haram Attack ‘Incapacitates’ 5 Military Aircraft, 24 Insurgents Killed as Jonathan Summons Security Chiefs


LAGOS DECEMBER 4TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The Nigerian military said on Monday evening that five of its aircraft were ‘incapacitated’ when suspected Boko Haram members attacked an Airforce base in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. Soldiers, however, killed 24 of the insurgents in a gun-battle, the defence headquarters said.
Several Boko Haram members, residents said about 500, attacked the Airforce Base, the Maiduguri international airport, and some civilian locations in the early hours of Monday.

Scores of civilians were feared killed by the insurgents, although the military kept mum on the civilian casualty.
The Borno State government declared a 24 hour curfew in Maiduguri, after the attack which started at about 2:30 a.m., according to residents.
The defence headquarters’ statement, signed by the Director, Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, said apart from the Air Force Base, the insurgents also attacked some Nigerian Army locations in Maiduguri.
“Three decommissioned military aircrafts as well as two Helicopters were incapacitated in the course of the attack,” the spokesperson said; although some residents had reported that some aircraft were burnt by the insurgents.
“Two Air Force personnel were also wounded while 24 insurgents died during the exchange of fire,” Mr. Olukolade, a brigadier-general, said.
Residents around the attacked Nigeria Air-force base said the attack started about 2:30 a.m. when gun shots and multiple explosions were heard echoing all over the city.
Military sources had told PREMIUM TIMES in Maiduguri that they saw more than 500 insurgents riding in various trucks, including an armoured personnel carrier, chanting Islamic slogans and shooting randomly during the apparently well coordinated attack.
Mr. Olukolade also said that security forces are in pursuit of the terrorists in the Djemtillo general area along the Maiduguri/Banishek axis.
He advised citizens to report any of the fleeing insurgents, most of who could be identified with gunshot wounds whenever they are sighted.
The spokesperson said normal flight operations to and from the Maiduguri Airport, which were earlier temporarily disrupted, have resumed.
When contacted on the current status of the international airport, aviation spokesperson, Yakubu Datti, said aviation authorities have “shut down all operations,” at the airport.
Mr. Datti, however, explained, after the military’s statement, that the emergency rule in Borno meant the airport and indeed the state was being decided for by the military.
“They (the military) have taken over, if they have resumed (airport operations), fine; Because you know there’s a state of emergency in the state, everything in the state is under the military,” he said
In another development, President Goodluck Jonathan summoned an emergency security meeting following an attack by suspected members of Boko Haram sect on some military bases and airport in Maiduguri on Monday morning.
Those in attendance at the meeting were the National Security Adviser, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Ibrahim.
The others are the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh.
There was no official statement at the end of the meeting held in the office of the President at the State House.
The CDS, who emerged from the meeting at about 3.40 p.m., declined interview with the State House correspondents.
On the situation in Maiduguri, he said “it is being managed’’.
The Chief of Air Staff also declined to comments, saying “please ask the CDS, it is only the CDS that can talks for all of us’’.
Following the attack by the suspected Boko Haram sect, the Borno government had imposed a 24-hour curfew on Maiduguri metropolis.
The Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Jidda, had announced the decision in a statement released to journalists in Maiduguri.
The statement said the curfew was imposed in consultation with the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri.
“During the period of curfew, government pleads with all citizens to remain calm.”
“Only vehicles on emergency calls and essential services are allowed to move while the curfew will be lifted as soon as situation improves,’’ it added.
The Defence Headquarters also released a statement saying the insurgents incapacitated five military aircraft; while soldiers killed over 20 of the insurgents.
Borno, like Adamawa and Yobe, has been under emergency rule since May.
(NAN)

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