World Bulletin/News Desk
Nigerian ground forces backed by warplanes on Tuesday battled Boko Haram militants in a second day of heavy fighting around a northeast town, in which the officer son of former president Olusegun Obasanjo was wounded, a senior official said.
Since the weekend, the government of Africa's biggest economy has sent in reinforcements to check a push southwards into northern Adamawa state by Boko Haram, which has seized towns and territory in the northeast in recent weeks.
Nigerian air force jets were bombarding the group's positions in and around the town of Michika, the government official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. They were also hitting the militants at Madagali, Bazza and Uba.
"Reinforcement of troops is ongoing, and I can tell you the fight is tense," the official in Abuja said. Nigeria's defence headquarters has not provided details of the fighting, despite repeated requests.
In neighbouring Borno state, where Boko Haram has seized a string of towns and villages, Nigeria's army on Monday blocked the group's advance towards the state capital, Maiduguri.
Former President Obasanjo's son, Lt. Col. Adebayo Obasanjo, was among soldiers wounded when the platoon he was leading was attacked at Bazza near Mubi in Adamawa state by Boko Haram insurgents on Monday. He was evacuated to a hospital.
Doyin Okupe, a senior aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, said on his Twitter account that Obasanjo had been shot in the thigh, but was in good spirits.
Twice-president Olusegun Obasanjo, who stepped down in 2007, has criticised Jonathan's handling of the Boko Haram insurgency, especially the government's failure to move more quickly to rescue more than 200 northeastern schoolgirls abducted by the militants in mid-April. They are still being held.
In a national vote due in February, southerner Jonathan is expected to seek re-election. Many believe political tensions stemming from the historic rivalry between Nigeria's mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south are also stoking the Boko Haram insurgency.Last Mod: 09 Eylül 2014, 22:56