At least 7 persons were confirmed dead when one of the numerous rocket propelled grenades (RPG) fired by Boko Haram terrorist hit a residential building in Maiduguri, the Borno state, last night, witnesses and security officials said.
A top security officer at the Department of Security Service (DSS) informed journalists, though under condition of anonymity because he was permitted to speak with press directly, that “7 persons were killed, 17 injured and about two houses completely destroyed as a result of the RPGs pumped into the town by Boko Haram insurgents”.
Residents of Maiduguri, Borno State capital, were forced to wake up at midnight as thunderous blasts and deafening sounds of shooting from heavy assault rifles believed to be rocket launchers rent the air.
Boko Haram terrorists attempted another entry into the town, but could not advance further beyond the barricade trenches and sand fortress dug and built around the troubled city, a low ranked military personnel, who preferred not to be named in this report for official reasons informed our reporter.
A member of Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Abbas Gava, had confirmed that an RPG fired into the town had hit a house in Dala-Lawanti area of Maiduguri killing seven occupants instantly and injuring many others.
“My younger sister lives in Dala-Lawanti”, said Gava. She and her family came running to my house at Moduganari ward in the night because a heavy explosion had hit the house close to theirs. And when we went back this morning to find out what transpired we met people mourning the death of seven people killed by bullet from a rocket launcher. The building that was hit is rented apartments for tenants; it was badly destroyed”.
Another resident of Maiduguri, Mari Madu, whose house is not far away from Dala-Lawanti said “I counted more than 40 heavy explosions coming from rocket launchers before I lost counts. Each time they fired into the town, we would see bright sparkling light, which moved with great speed passing over our houses. One of the blasts shook the roof of my house so badly that I thought it might have landed on my house. Many houses were destroyed in our neighbourhood, but I have not heard of anyone that died”.
The attack forced thousands of residents, mostly members of the youth vigilante, a.k.a Civilian-JTF to the streets all armed as they kept vigil, should the Boko Haram attackers eventually made their ways into the town.
The shooting, which started at about 12:50 am, continued as soldiers battled to keep the attackers at bay until about 3am when the situation became calm.
Maiduguri has since last year become a city surrounded by sand fortress and deep trenches that provided a tight security for the residents. With the trenches and sand fortress, no vehicle can enter the city through any route except the highways. This barrier had since made invasion of Maiduguri a major headache for the Boko Haram terrorists who would only end their fight with soldiers from outside the walls of the sands and deep trenches.
It has not been ascertained if soldiers had been able to kill the attackers, or only succeeded in repelling them, as was usually the case.