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Capital of Nigeria’s Borno State under attack, casualties feared

ABUJA, March 14 (Xinhua) — Gunshots and multiple explosions have been reported in Maiduguri, capital of Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno, which is currently under gunmen attack, according to security sources and residents. Heavy casualties are feared in the two-hour long attack.

The attack is suspected to be a perpetration of Boko Haram, a deadly sect operating in the northeastern state of Nigeria, which suffered a monumental loss of its members following a number of military raids in the last few days.

A resident identified as Aliyu Gambo told Xinhua that the ongoing attack, launched near a military cantonment, might be a reprisal of the current clampdown on the sect by military operatives who raided the Sambisa Forest and other hideouts of the insurgents.

Sounds of gunshots and at least three explosions rented the air on Friday morning as residents prepared to go about their various businesses. Number of casualties was yet to be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.

The attack started from a village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, not far from the local Giwa Army Barracks, the State Government House and a polo field in the state capital of Borno, Gambo said.

An army of youths, which volunteered to repel the attack, had first exchanged gunfire with the gunmen, added another resident identified as Malam Ibrahim.

Soldiers in the area joined in the gun fighting more than an hour later, thereby giving residents cause to heave a sigh of relief.

No deaths, injuries or destruction have been confirmed by the authorities, but a senior army officer told Xinhua that the military was on top of the situation.

Soldiers were dispatched in a large truck to the place of the attack and military jet fighters were seen hovering the area in search of the suspected Boko Haram militants.

Borno State, where the sect’s headquarters is located, is currently under an emergency rule with Adamawa and Yobe, its two sister northeastern states which have also suffered deadly attacks by the Boko Haram.

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