- Over 120 terrorists killed – Witness
- Suicide bomber, insurgents’ cameraman killed
- Confiscated rifles, cars taken to Maiduguri
Scores of Boko Haram fighters were killed yesterday when they reportedly met stiff resistance from Nigerian military operatives and youth vigilantes in Konduga town, 40 kilometers away from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Witnesses and security sources said the fierce encounter started around 4.30am and lasted till around 11am and reportedly favoured Nigerian troops who had earlier gathered intelligence report on plans by the insurgents to attack Konduga and later advance towards Maiduguri.
“We recorded unprecedented success, we killed many of them, seized many weapons and vehicles and captured some of them alive,” said a security source, who does not want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak on the matter. He called it a ‘major victory’.
Another source said: “Our ground troops comprehensively repelled the insurgents almost thrice,” adding that when the insurgents stormed Konduga, there was serious exchange of fire, which forced them to retreat. “They went back, mobilised again and returned but were confronted. When they returned for the third time, our men routed them, demobilised them and in the process, many of them were killed,” he said.
The source gave kudos to youth vigilantes, who he said provided vital information and also participated.
The officer also said troops used shell cars, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and others in confronting the attackers. “There was air support by fighter jets and the operation was successful,” he added.
Mohammed Goma, a vigilante from Konduga, put the figure of the insurgents killed at over 120, but this could not be independently verified. “I am not exaggerating,” he insisted, “Over 120 of them were killed and some have been captured and are being interrogated. They are making startling revelations, including their ultimate plans to attack Maiduguri,” he said.
Blasts were heard in Maiduguri from the direction of Konduga. At the Bama motor park in Maiduguri, witnesses said they saw soldiers coming into the capital in a celebratory mood. “They came in with many vehicles that looked like they were seized them from the insurgents,” said a mason who was present.
Kolo Almajiri, a driver from Konduga, told Weekly Trust in Maiduguri that he also saw many corpses in the outskirts of Konduga, which is the biggest town after Bama, along the Maiduguri-Bama road axis.
Following the capture of Bama town by the insurgents on August 1, Nigerian troops retreated to Kawuri, 38 kilometers away from the captured town. Few days after, the insurgents reportedly had an encounter with the troops and succeeded in killing over 50 of them, according to a release by the Defence Headquarters.
In a related development, sources said many insurgents were equally killed at Ngom, a village in the outskirt of Maiduguri, along Dikwa road. Sources said the insurgents were advancing towards the state capital when vigilant villagers sighted them and alerted nearby security operatives. It is not immediately clear how many were killed but there is calm in most locations in Maiduguri.
Another credible security source revealed to Weekly Trust that yesterday was the most successful outing by troops of the 7 Division in recent times. “Almost all the terrorists that mobilised for the Konduga attack were killed. Two of them were arrested and the simple fact is that Boko Haram suffered a major defeat this time around,” he said.
The source added: “All the vehicles they came with were either shelled or confiscated. About six of the vehicles have been taken to Maimalari Barracks so far and more are on the way. Troops also recovered dozens of rifles and explosives. A suicide bomber was also intercepted and killed. A cameraman that they came with in order to cover their planned atrocity was also killed and the camera recovered,” he said.