Gunshots boomed again in Monguno, Borno State on Monday as troops, backed by fighter jets, launched a major offensive to recapture the city from militant islamist sect, Boko Haram.
“The operation resumed on Monguno this (Monday) morning through air bombardment to dislodge the insurgents,” a Defence Headquarters source told Reuters news agency.
The source made this known as the death toll from the foiled bid by the sect to capture Maiduguri is believed to have risen from 65 to 100.
The sect had launched simultaneous attacks on Maiduguri, Monguno, Kodunga and Gubio on Sunday. While its fighters were repelled in Maiduguri, Gubio and Kodunga, they overran Monguno after soldiers who engaged them in gun battle retreated.
A military barracks in the city was seized and the Brigade commander wounded by the insurgents.
The Defence Headquarters, in one of its tweets on Monday, said the troops inflicted more casualties on fleeing insurgents while military locations in Maiduguri and Konduga were reinforced.
It further stated that the troops captured a large number of heavy military hardware from the insurgents.
The tweet read, “Our forces recorded some casualties. Meanwhile, ground troops are in charge and Air Force patrol on going at Maiduguri and Konduga.
“Substantial amount of heavy weapons have been captured as more terrorists died in the fight which lasted till early Monday morning.”
5,000 flee to Maiduguri
The National Emergency Management Agency Information Officer in the North-East, AbdulKadir Ibrahim, told The PUNCH, that 5,000 persons that fled the captured town had been registered in Maiduguri.
He said that the Borno State Government provided an almost completed housing estate for the IDPs.
Ibrahim explained that 2,000 of them arrived the state capital on Sunday and 3,000 on Monday.
He said, “We are expecting more people; we have put the needed materials for them to settle well in the camp.”
Reuters also reported that majority of those killed in the Maiduguri fighting were Boko Haram members.
It said that a Maiduguri-based journalist, Bello Dukku, who visited a mortuary in the city counted 100 bodies, including 15 soldiers.
According to Dukku, 50 people injured in the fighting.
Meanwhile, the curfew imposed on Maiduguri after the Sunday attack has been lifted.
A spokesman for the Army in the state, Col. Sani Usman, said, “The curfew has been lifted. People can go about their legitimate business.”
The state Governor, Kashim Shettima, had earlier on Monday explained to the residents of the city that the curfew was imposed “to enable security personnel to carry out their operations.”
He said, “I call on the people of Borno State not to panic. This is our land. No fear, no flight, no retreat. We should not flee. We have a history dating back 1,000 years and I swear by Allah, we are going to subdue them (Boko Haram).”
The governor, who also described the attack on Monguno as bad, said, “ I will not lie to you. People are trooping to Maiduguri. They are being protected by the military outside the city.
“There is a need for screening before they are allowed in.”
Meanwhile, an A online news medium, TheCable, said in its report on Monday that the insurgents attacked Michika, in Adamawa State, “killing people and burning houses”.
It quoted a a source as having said that the terrorists arrived in the town at about 2pm on Monday “firing gunshots indiscriminately and burning houses.”
“People who are running, trying to escape but are being shot. The soldiers are engaging them(insurgents) right now and I hope they overcome them,” he added.[Punch]