Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
An attempted surge into Maiduguri, Borno State, by Boko Haram terrorists was repelled by massive air and land bombardment of the terrorist group by the military.
The terrorist group was engaged in battle by the military at Auno town, a distance of about 20 kilometres from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram.
The terrorists had stormed the town at about 7:15p.m. last week Wednesday, with the intention to destroy the military facilities and subsequently surge towards Maiduguri, according to the residents of the town.
They however met their match in the military who engaged them, stopped the surge and made them to retreat after suffering major casualties in lives and ammunition.
The attack on the town on Maiduguri/Damaturu highways made hundreds of residents to scamper for safety as heavy gunshots and explosions rented the air.
Confirming the attack in a statement yesterday, the spokesman of the Nigeria Air Force (NAF), Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said: “The Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole has destroyed some terrorists’ gun trucks in air strikes conducted at Auno in Borno State.
“The attacks were executed on January 7, 2019 while providing close air support for ground troops which were responding to an attack on their location.
“The ATF scrambled a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet and an Mi-35M helicopter gunship supported by an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft to locate and engage the group of terrorists’ gun trucks.”
Daramola added: “Above the targeted area, the ground troops were seen engaging the terrorists, who were in a convoy of gun trucks, in a fierce gun battle. After the operation, the Alpha Jet and Mi-35M took turns in engaging the terrorists causing them to beat immediate retreat.
“In the process, three gun trucks were hit and destroyed while several of their fighters were neutralised. The hail of fire from exploding ammunition in one of gun trucks was visibly seen. Some of the survivors, who were seen attempting to flee the location were taken out in a follow-on attacks.”