Islamist attacks prompt 24-hour curfew in Nigeria’s Maiduguri
The phone network has been down in Borno state since mid-May, when a state of emergency was declared in the area
Overnight attacks by Boko Haram Islamists forced authorities Monday to impose a total ban on movement in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, with no air traffic allowed in or out of embattled Borno state.
“The Borno state government in consultation with (the military) has decided to impose a 24-hour curfew on Maiduguri,” Borno’s capital, said state government secretary Baba Ahmed Jidda.
“The imposition of the curfew is necessitated by an attack in Maiduguri by people suspected to be Boko Haram members in the early hours of today.”
The apparently large attack in a major urban center will cast further doubt on military claims that the Islamist insurgents have been pushed into remote, more rural parts of the northeast.
The military on Saturday said they would tighten security in communities near Nigeria’s northern and eastern borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroon due to fears about Boko Haram strikes over the Christmas and New Year period.
Army spokesman Ibrahim Attahiru told AFP on Monday that one of the attacks struck near the city’s airport but he was not able to provide further details.
The phone network has been down in Borno state since mid-May, when a state of emergency was declared in the area.
The military said the shutdown would help block militants from coordinating attacks but with no working mobile phone service, details of the conflict in the area have been difficult to verify.
The latest violence began at around 3:00 am (0200 GMT) and included bomb and gun attacks, an AFP correspondent in the city said.
Boko Haram was founded in Maiduguri more than 10 years ago and has attacked the city repeatedly.