From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri
Maiduguri, the Borno state capital was yesterday thrown into apprehension and palpable fear, as news filtered in that members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect were approaching the town to lay a major siege.
Many residents of the town were forced to return to their homes early, with some parents besieging schools to take their children back home in anticipation of the attack.
There were fewer vehicles on the road, as many motorists stayed off in order not to fall victims of the anticipated crossfire between the insurgents and the military.
Many local hunters were also seen moving towards the area to engage the insurgents who were believed to be making an inroad into the fortified city from road leading into it from Damboa.
It would be recalled that Damboa was on Friday under the siege of the insurgents and over 70 persons were killed.
The siege claimed 53 insurgents and over twenty others including soldiers and policemen apart from innocent civilians that were killed.
The apprehension in Maiduguri was raised when news filtered into the city that some soldiers were fleeing into the troubled capital from Damboa axis.
It was later gathered that the sect members has attacked military and police vehicles at Bulabulin Nganaram, a distance of about 55 kilometres from Maiduguri.
Some witnesses told journalists in Maiduguri that a team of soldiers policemen had engaged some insurgents in a gun duel at Nganaram Bulabulin, when they were heading to Hawul local government area with the corpse of their colleague who was to be buried.
The police vehicle had to make a U-turn heading back to Maiduguri on top speed and it was the movement and the warning shot that the people of Mule, a distance of about 20 kilometres saw that made them fled in large numbers into Maiduguri with the rumour that the insurgents were moving into the town to launch an attack.
It was also gathered that the fleeing policemen had also warned off the soldiers at the outskirts of Maiduguri around Mulai village that the insurgents had engaged them some couple of kilometres away.
The soldiers, in order to show their battle readiness to the insurgents were said to have shot several warning shots, which further added to the apprehension of the people that the capital town may be attacked by the insurgents.
A senior police officer, who does not want his name in print, told journalists that nobody was harmed or affected, disclosing that the team of policemen has already taken an alternative route to convey the corpse to Hawul local government area of the state for burial.