The Boko Haram insurgents group on Saturday launched three daring attacks in Maiduguri, Konduga and Monguno with a bid to capturing the capital city of Borno.
They were however engaged by the Nigeria troops in a fierce fight which lasted into the morning of Sunday, several hours after they launched their attacks.
At the end of the battle, the troops repelled the insurgents from Maiduguri and Koduga, but lost Mungonu to the insurgents.
Military insiders said the insurgents arrived Monguno at about 2 am on Sunday, parking their Hilux vans deep into the bush, with their headlights on.
Soldiers of the 5 Brigade, who saw the unusual lights, began to shoot in the direction of the vans without knowing that the insurgents had left the vans and advanced close to the Brigade headquarters.
Suddenly, the insurgents began to shoot sporadically. The troop of the Brigade, including those of the Multinational Joint Task Force [MJTF], who were camped at a school inside the barracks after they were dislodged from Baga, engaged the terrorists in a long exchange of gunfire.
The biggest fighting tank owned by the Brigade, known as Shika, killed several insurgents, and wounded several others.
But it was such a long battle that the equipment, which provided cover for ground troops, suddenly ran out of ammunition and begun to withdraw.
As it withdrew, the rifle men behind also retreated, as the insurgents followed in pursuit. In the process, the commander of the Brigade, a Brigadier General Yekini, and a few other soldiers were wounded. It is not clear the number of soldiers and insurgents killed in the attack.
“We could have overpowered the insurgents, but there was no enough ammunition,” an officer, who participated in the battle said.
The troop, who retreated from Monguno, are now gathered at the entrance of the headquarters of 7 Division in Maiduguri.
The General Officer Commanding of the Division, Brigadier General M.Y. Ibrahim, is said to have left instruction that the soldiers and officers, including the Commander of the MJTF, dislodged from Baga, Brigadier General E.A. Ransome-Kuti, should be denied entry into the barracks.
“We arrived here since 3 p.m. but they are not allowing us to gain access to the battalion,” an officer said. “We don’t know what is going on.”
Abusidiqu had broken the news on the fall of Monguno after a military source in Maiduguri said on Sunday morning that “we have decimated the idiots (from Maiduguri) but Monguno has fallen”.
Mr. Olukolade, however, said the air operations on Monguno would continue. He also said calm has been restored in Maiduguri and Konduga as operation continues with patrols and surveillance.
The spokesperson also confirmed an earlier statement by an army spokesperson that the 24-hour curfew imposed on Maiduguri during the attacks will end by 6:00 a.m. on Monday.
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