MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) – Boko Haram early Tuesday attacked the northeastern city of Maiduguri, according to residents awakened by booming explosions, heavy gunfire and the screech of a jet fighter.
“We are under siege,” Sumaila Ayuba told The Associated Press by telephone just after midnight from her home on the western flanks of the city. “The shooting is quite deafening. Please we need prayers.”
President Muhammadu Buhari announced at his inauguration on Friday that he is moving the military headquarters of the war from Abuja, the capital in central Nigeria, to Maiduguri. The capital of Borno state is the birthplace of Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group, and the biggest city in northeastern Nigeria.
There was no immediate word of casualties in this latest attack.
On Saturday, rocket-propelled grenades hit some homes in Maiduguri, killing at least 16 people. Another 17 people died later Saturday when a suicide bomber blew himself up among people prostrating themselves in prayer outside a mosque. On Sunday, a bomb at a market ripped off one man’s arm and wounded three other people.
Hit-and-run attacks on villages and bombings are also continuing, weeks after the military announced that a multinational offensive had forced Boko Haram from the towns and villages where it had declared “an Islamic caliphate.”
Nigerian troops have been battling to crush the militants in the last stronghold in the Sambisa Forest, with air raids and ground attacks that have destroyed more than 20 camps and freed hundreds of captive girls, women and children.
Buhari is travel to Chad and Niger, whose troops help fight Boko Haram, on Wednesday, said his spokesman Garba Shehu. It is Buhari’s first official trip outside Nigeria since he was inaugurated president. Chad and Niger had complained of a lack of cooperation from Nigeria’s previous administration.