A group of Boko Haram militants on Friday attacked the 202 Army Battalion Barracks located in Bama, about 40 kilometers outside Maiduguri town, and killed several women and children.
The Islamic sect, according to a source in the barracks, struck around 3am local time, firing heavy arms and ammunition.Our source, a soldier, said that troops of the Nigerian Army and Air Force repelled the sect using fierce air and ground attacks, resulting in the killing of many of the terrorists.He explained that some soldiers in the barracks lost their wives, children and relatives in the fight, which lasted until about 7am, during which time the sound of explosives and guns filled the air.
“There was an attack on the military barracks in (the town) of Bama this morning,” said Mohammed Dole, army spokesman in Borno state, the epicentre of the Boko Haram conflict.He declined to comment on details provided by several Bama residents who said dozens, or perhaps even hundreds, of insurgents swarmed the barracks in a convoy of 4X4 trucks, armed with assault rifles, explosives and rocket-propelled-grenades.”It started at around three in the morning with huge explosions and the cracking of gunfire,” said Bama resident Abdullahi Idris. “Later we saw plumes of smoke and fire from the barracks.”Bama has become a flashpoint in the insurgency and the scene of several bold Islamist attacks. One of the Islamist rebels’ largest-ever strikes targeted the military in Bama in June.According to Idris and other residents, military jets flew over the town after the attack.
The nearest air force base is in Borno’s capital Maiduguri, roughly 70 kilometres (44 miles) from Bama.”A large section of the barracks” had been destroyed by fire, said another resident who asked for anonymity but identified himself as a member of the vigilante force which has formed in Borno to fight the Islamists.He told newsmen that fighter jets dropped bombs on the attackers, forcing them to flee.
Residents and Dole offered no estimates of casualties.Borno and two other parts of Nigeria’s northeast were placed under a state of emergency in May.The military operation launched in the region to crush the uprising has entered its eighth month but its effectiveness has been widely questioned.Defence officials have claimed Boko Haram is now only capable of attacking soft targets, but Friday’s raid in Bama, which came after a December 2 assault on the army and air force in Maiduguri, indicates the insurgents are still capable of daring offensive attack