World Bulletin / News Desk
Nigerian authorities have announced killing at least 18 Boko Haram militants over the weekend in clashes in two border communities in Nigeria's Borno State.
"Defense headquarters wishes to confirm the killings of 18 terrorists in settlements in Bama and Ngusoroye," military spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement late Monday.
"The Special Forces also destroyed five pickup vehicles, seven gulf cars and one Toyota Hillux truck belonging to the group," he added.
The troops also found 16 burnt AK 47 assault rifles at the scene of the battle, said the spokesman, adding that the insurgents came under fire when they were making moves to attack some communities in the area.
"The Special Forces screened and released 75 villagers in a cordon and search operation that followed the gun battle with the insurgents," said Olukolade.
The military, meanwhile, has expressed doubts over claims that a bomb explosion in a market in Bama had killed 29 people.
"The purported bomb attack on a market in the vicinity as widely reported in the media is however yet to be verified," said the military spokesman.
He asserted that troops have intensified patrol of the banks of Lake Chad and surrounding communities in addition to an aerial surveillance operation put in place to smoke out terrorists from the area.
A hitherto peaceful organization that had preached against government corruption, Boko Haram suddenly turned violent in 2009 following the murder of its leader, Mohamed Yusuf, while in police custody.
In the years since, the group has been blamed for thousands of terrorist acts, including attacks on churches and security posts across Nigeria's northern region, especially the Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
Although it claims to want an Islamist government in the region, Nigerian Muslims – most of whom reject Boko Haram as un-Islamic – have also been targeted by the militant group.Last Mod: 25 Mart 2014, 09:44