Nigeria’s military on Friday claimed to have routed Boko Haram militants near the Borno state capital Maiduguri, as residents in another under-siege town complained of food shortages and slavery.
Army spokesman Timothy Antigha said in a statement that the Islamists launched a “massive” attack on the town of Konduga, about 35 kilometres (22 miles) from Maiduguri, at 0430 GMT Friday.
“After about three hours of fierce fighting, Nigerian troops routed the Boko Haram fighting force of over 100 terrorists,” he said, adding that the insurgents suffered heavy casualties.
Four pick-up trucks with mounted anti-aircraft guns, three heavy machine guns, more than 30 AK-47 assault rifles and two global positioning systems were recovered by troops, he added.
“The entire area is still being combed for terrorists, who may have escaped with bullet wounds. Morale of troops remains very high,” Antigha said.
The battle came a day after the Borno Elders Forum called for military reinforcements to protect Maiduguri, warning that the key city was “completely surrounded” by the militants.
There has been mounting concern at the extent of Boko Haram’s land grab in Borno army of possible loss of government control.
Nigeria’s military have repeatedly rejected claims about Boko Haram taking over towns and villages, despite multiple testimonies from fleeing residents.
Boko Haram stormed the town of Bama, 70 kilometres by road from Maiduguri, on September 1.
Thousands of people fled to the state capital but there have since been conflicting reports about whether the militants were still in control. [Vanguard]