Troops repel Boko Haram attack on Nigeria's Maiduguri city

Reuters News
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Posted: May 30, 2015 7:10 AM

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian troops pushed back an attack by Boko Haram insurgents on the outskirts of Borno state capital Maiduguri in the early hours of Saturday, a Reuters reporter and military source said.

The attack occurred barely a day after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who swore to crush the Islamist militant group and move the command center of defense to the Borno state capital.

Gunshots from high-caliber weapons could be heard between about 1 a.m. and 2:20 a.m. (1200-0120 GMT) from the southwestern part of the city.

A military source said the shooting took place around the Damboa road after the small settlement of Mule on the edge of the city of two million.

The attack follows twin bomb blasts in a Borno town early on Friday.

Thousands have been killed and about 1.5 million displaced during Boko Haram's six-year-old insurgency to carve out a state adhering strict sharia law in Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy and top oil producer. At the start of the year it controlled a swathe of territory larger than Belgium in the northeast of the country.

It has since been pushed back with the help of offensives launched by Chadian and Nigerian troops while Cameroon has fought them off along its borders.

The United States and Britain said on Friday they were ready to increase military cooperation with Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram.

(Reporting By Lanre Ola, Writing by Julia Payne; Editing by Angus MacSwan)