Saturday, February 14, 2015 6:06 pm
An attack by heavily armed Boko Haram militants on the northeastern Nigerian city of Gombe on Saturday has been repelled, according to Maj. General Chris Olukolade, the military spokesman.
Nigeria’s Defense Headquarters said a combination of air and ground operation repelled the attack.
“The terrorists attack on Gombe has been repelled. Troops are in pursuit,” it said via its Twitter account.
Earlier, explosions and gunfire could be heard after the fighters overwhelmed a checkpoint at the edge of the city, which has been bombed before but has never had the insurgents attempt to take it over.
Witness Abdul Hassan said soldiers had run away after the checkpoint was overwhelmed. The militants then burned down a police station on the outskirts of town, he said.
“I crossed a river and ran into the hills,” he said. “I’m still there and I can hear the fighting.”
Others were staying indoors. Witness Hussaina Maji said she was unable to leave her house for fear of being caught in crossfire.
Boko Haram insurgents began a push for the city early on on Saturday morning, by attacking Dadin Kowa and Hinna towns of Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Area of Gombe State.
Eye witnesses said the insurgents’ attack on the two towns forced the residents to flee to the nearby bush.
The Chairman of Fishermen Association in Dadin Kowa, Malam Saadu Sarkin-Ruwa, said the insurgents invaded the towns around 6 a.m. and launched sporadic shootings.
Another resident who preferred to remain anonymous, said the sect members arrived Liji and Yalenguruza areas on the road from Biu in Borno.
He said they started shouting and saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is great) as they advanced toward the 301 Artillery Regiment Quarter Guard of the Nigerian Army.
A resident of Herwagana area of the town who simply identified himself as Malam Shehu, said he heard sound of explosions and gun shots in the area which lasted for some hours.
The Director of Defence Information, Maj.- Gen. Chris Olukolade, confirmed the attack and said that it had already been repelled by troops.