There have been fresh attacks by Boko Haram Islamists on Nigerian city of Maiduguri, according to eye witnesses. There was gunfire on the streets of Maiduguri which is said to have began in the early morning of Sunday. These attacks have been launched just a week after the group tried to capture the capital of Borno but they were kept away by the Nigerian army where many lost their lives.
Boko Haram has the intention of creating an Islamic state, a guerrilla operation which they began in 2009. So far they have taken charge of many villages and towns in North- Eastern Nigeria in the year 2014. In this same year over 2000 lives were lost and at about 1.5 million people were left homeless after they were displaced.
According to the residents of Maiduguri, the attack started at 02:00GMT, and there has been heavy fighting going on the Southern side of the city between rebels and troops through the support of vigilantes who are said to have recently taken keen interest in fighting and keeping away the militants.
In the last six years of handling and dealing with Boko Haram the security forces continue to be criticized and if they lose Maiduguri, they will have suffered another key impediment. Because of this, residents of Maiduguri is said to be living in fear. They are especially afraid that the security forces can be defeated by Boko Haram.
According to reports in one of the local newspapers, there have been heavy armaments heard in the city of Maiduguri as Boko Haram militants attacked the city. They further said that the group is conducting their attacks from four directions.
Last week the group tried to take over Maiduguri but were stopped by military, but they went ahead and captured Monguo, a town that is about 125km away from the city and they went ahead to take over the military base.
There are many people who have so far fled the city of Maiduguri as a result of the attack. It is feared that if they take over that city, there would be a humanitarian disaster. It is said that the group are increasingly improving on their attacks ahead of the elections which is expected to take place in two weeks time, on February 14.
The Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan vowed that they will defeat the militants when he declared a state of emergency in Borno and other two nearby states in the year 2013. This announcement has since seen the Boko Haram group step up their attacks. It is feared that many people will not be able to vote during voting day as a result of the ongoing conflicts.
Neighboring countries which include Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin have agreed to contribute troops. West African task force agreed that there should be 7500 troops top fight Boko Haram; a plan that was this week supported by the African Union.
Boko Haram was founded in 2002 with the intention of opposing Western-style education thus the name Boko Haram which means ‘Western education is forbidden’ in their local language of Hausa. They then launched their military operations in 2009 with an intention to create Islamic State. So far the group has abducted many women and even school girls. It controls North-Eastern towns where they have killed thousands of people and also attacked police and UN headquarters in the capital of Abuja.