Hundreds of Boko Haram gunmen on Sunday launched an attack on the key Nigerian city of Maiduguri just after midnight, fiercely battling government troops and volunteer civilians on the outskirts of the city. Nigeria’s military repelled this attack, but at least 8 people had died and 27, mostly civilians, had been injured. A second attempt to take the city’s airport this afternoon was also repelled.
Later in the morning, another attack was launched by the militants on the town of Monguno, which is 80 miles (140 km) north. Boko Haram militants were successful in taking control of the town and its military barracks, according to CNN, and the town fell under militant control by the late afternoon, Newsweek explains.
Simultaneously, the militants also attacked a third town, Konduga, which is 24 miles (40 km) from Maiduguri, but the military was able to repel this raid as well.
Residents of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, say they woke to sustained loud explosions and gunshots. The city underwent a total lockdown, with all business and roads closed by security forces.
Nigerian military tried to stayed out of the mess and keep a low profile, so defending the town depended on civilian volunteers, while “hundreds of thousands of people” fled.
Resident Buba Kyari told BBC that the scene was chaotic: ”It is flying bullets everywhere. All we hear are sounds of guns and explosions. A rocket-propelled grenade hit and killed a person from my neighborhood who was fleeing into the city.”
During the Maiduguri attack, local residents said that they are relying on only God to save them now, with one resident stating, “Only prayers will save us now, not the military.” Another resident named Rachel Adamu added, “Please pray for us, we are in danger, under serious attack now.”
“Boko Haram has more power than us and are shelling the town … our colleagues are fleeing,” a soldier in Maiduguri said to Reuters after speaking to friends fighting the insurgents in Monguno.