Boko Haram Attacks Maiduguri, Kills 13

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boko-haram_0Nigeria’s militant Boko Haram group has killed 13 people and wounded 17 more in an attack on a residential area in Maiduguri in Borno state early Saturday.

Security officials and witnesses said the insurgents launched rocket-propelled grenades into a residential building in Maiduguri in Borno state about 1 a.m. local time.

Seventeen people were wounded in the attack.

Maiduguri resident Mari Madu said he heard 40 explosions, before he lost count.

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“Each time they fired into the town, we see bright sparkling light, which moved with great speed passing over our houses. One of the blasts shook the roof of my house so badly that I thought it might have landed on my house,” Madu said.

Witnesses said following the attack, members of an armed youth vigilante group took to the streets to prevent Boko Haram from advancing.

The assault on Maiduguri came hours after Boko Haram terrorists bombed a wedding venue in Tashan-Alede, a village located 270 kilometers from Maiduguri. Witnesses said a second blast hit the site while people were trying to rescue victims from the first explosion.

Seven people were killed and dozens were wounded in the twin blasts.

One witness, Ibrahim Birtus, said, “I don’t know whether the groom is alive or not because there was confusion after the blasts occurred.”

New president

At his inauguration Friday, Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to crush the insurgents. Buhari said he will move the headquarters for the war against Boko Haram from Abuja, the capital in central Nigeria, to Maiduguri.

Maiduguri’s population of 2 million has swelled with hundreds of thousands of refugees.

More than 1.5 million Nigerians have been driven from their homes by the nearly six-year-old Islamic uprising by Islamist extremists to carve out a state adhering strict sharia law in northeast Nigeria. An estimated 13,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

At the start of the year, Boko Haram 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 Nigerien 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.

Some material for this report came from Reuters and AP.


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