Unspecified number of soldiers were feared killed yesterday afternoon when suicide bombers in two separate vehicles rammed into two military patrol vehicles at a major checkpoint on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
The number of soldiers killed or wounded was not clear as at press time, but sources said all the four suicide bombers died on the spot after detonating the explosives-laden cars.
Sources said a total of 15 civilians including a member of the Civilian JTF died while 17 others were wounded in yesterday’s explosions.
Also, our correspondent learnt that eight vehicles were destroyed in the incident, while one terrorist has been arrested.
But the military is silent on the death of soldiers in the two bomb attacks as the Director of Defence Information, Major Chris Olukolade simply confirmed the killing of the four suicide bombers, in a statement he issued on the incident, yesterday in Abuja.
The military spokesman said in his statement that the terrorists were apparently heading to a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) facility along the highway.
Yesterday’s was the second suicide attack targeting security forces in less than two weeks. The latest incident came barely a week after another set of three suicide bombers attacked a moving police patrol vehicle along Maiduguri- Bama road, killing five officers attached to the Federal Highway Patrol Team.
The incidents occurred around 1pm at a security checkpoint in Molai village along the Maiduguri-Damboa highway.
It was gathered that the first suicide bomber hit a patrol vehicle parked by the checkpoint, a development which caused loud sound and flames.
In the ensuing confusion, the second suicide bomber reportedly hit another patrol vehicle, also at the checkpoint.
A witness who worked at the nearby Mulai Hospital and declined identification told newsmen that after the incident, the scene was cordoned off and some corpses taken away by security forces.
The dual attacks caused confusion in Maiduguri metropolis as the horrifying sounds of the thunderous blasts were heard in several parts of the city.
All roads leading to the area were blocked for several hours, causing heavy traffic jam.
Similarly, some roads were deserted and business premises shut down for fear of the unknown even as several military personnel were seen moving towards the direction of the blasts.
Meanwhile, the military has said that the terrorism war got a boost recently as Cameroon security forces made a huge seizure of arms apparently meant for use by Boko Haram operating in Nigeria last weekend.
The military authorities said over 288 rifles and 35 Rocket Propelled Guns as well as 35 locally made IEDs were recovered after a fierce encounter at Abugasse, Cameroon, close to the Chadian border.
A statement signed by the Director of Defence Information (DDI) Major General Chris Olukolade said Other weapons recovered included; Pistols, Mortar Bombs, Sub-machine Guns and various calibres of ammunitions following the arrest of two suspects believed to be major arms suppliers to the terrorists in Nigeria.
The statement further said over 50 Cameroonian passports as well as a Toyota Jeep were also recovered from the insurgents
“Meanwhile, the offensive on terrorists in various fronts is continuing. The Alagarno area as well as various points of Sambisa forest and suburbs have been witnessing intense operations since Monday (yesterday).
“Apart from several dead terrorists, 14 vehicles which were either being used for operation or hidden by the terrorists in various parts of the forests and theatres have been destroyed. Various calibres of weapons and ammunitions were also recovered in the course of fighting and subsequent cordon and search of the areas”, Olukolade said.