Despite Ongoing Military Operations, Clashes Continue to Occur in Northern NigeriaAugust 7, 2013 in Nigeria
Despite a nearly three-month-old state of emergency, which was declared in three states in northern Nigeria, the country has seen an increase in attacks as Boko Haram militants and their supporters continue their attempts to carve out an Islamic State. In the latest incidents to rock the northern regions of the country, at least thirty-five people have been killed in two attacks that were carried out by militants. Meanwhile on Tuesday, gunfire and explosions shook one northeastern Nigerian town while soldiers established a round-the-clock curfew on another region in light of a wave of insurgent clashes.
Clashes broke out in the town of Gamboru Ngala, which is located near the border with Cameroon, on Monday night and continued into Tuesday. Due to minimal communications, the military has not yet commented on the situation and details pertaining to the clashes remain unclear. Meanwhile in the city of Potiskum, a round-the-clock curfew has been imposed on the city as soldiers carried out house-to-house searches. Local residents have reported that soldiers were conducting house-to-house searches in two neighborhoods in a bid to locate high-profile Boko Haram members. Although the military has not provided any details as to the sudden imposed curfew, the security operation comes ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday which follows the holy month of Ramadan. There are currently no indications of how long the curfew will remain in place however the country will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr on Thursday and Friday. The situations in the two towns do not appear to be linked as they are located hundreds of kilometers apart. The recent clashes and military operation come in the wake of fighting which occurred on Sunday in two other northeastern towns, in which at least thirty-five people have been killed.
A military statement released by officials indicates that thirty-two militants, along with two soldiers and one police officer, died during assaults that were carried out on a police station and military base on Sunday. Military spokesman Sagir Musa has indicated that “troops have successfully repelled Boko Haram terrorist attacks on a police base in Bama…on 4 August.” He also noted that a military base in the town of Malam Fatori was also attacked, triggering a gun battle. The military has also stated that “sophisticated weapons” and explosives were used in the attacks. Although the attacks had occurred on Sunday, news of the incidents emerged days later as communications with the region have been difficult since the state of emergency was declared on May 14.