TROOPS of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army and suspected gunmen of the Boko Haram sect in over two dozens of Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles, clashed Friday morning at the Mainok Village Market in Borno State, resulting in the death 52 terror suspects and nine traders attempting to flee the crossfire that lasted for over half an hour.
Mainok is a farming community 60 kilometres west of Maiduguri, the state capital.
According to military sources in Maiduguri who spoke with Guardian news, the gunmen planned to attack the village, which holds its weekly market on Fridays, to “terrorise and extort money and food items from the traders.”
“We saw the insurgents in their several Hilux vehicles and motorcycles advancing towards the village on this road to attack and kill people while we were patrolling the Maiduguri-Damaturu road this morning.
“On sighting us, the armed terrorists opened fire on us, so we had to retreat because of our numerical strength and firing power, after killing over four dozen suspects that attempted fleeing the village.
“Nine of the terrified and confused villagers were also feared dead, while the suspects who escaped are being pursued,” said a military officer who participated in foiling the attack.
The source further disclosed that the insurgents drove through the Mainok Cattle Route that links the Sambisa Forest before attempting to launch “multiple attacks” on the village and its market square yesterday morning.
“The corpses of the killed suspects could not be retrieved as the insurgents carried the bodies of their fallen members into pickup vans to prevent the attackers from being identified by the military and other security agencies,” said the officer.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tanko Lawal, confirmed the killings of the suspected terrorists by the military in one of the villages on the Maiduguri-Damaturu road and death of some fleeing residents in the crossfire.