, LAGOS, June 6 – Nigerian soldiers have killed at least 16 militants, the army said Wednesday, after gunfire and blasts rocked an area of the country’s northeast where Islamists were believed to be hiding.
“It’s confirmed,” Colonel Victor Ebhaleme told AFP when asked about reports of 16 Boko Haram members being killed in the city of Maiduguri. “They came to attack part of the city,” he said, declining to provide details.
Gunfire and explosions erupted in Maiduguri on Tuesday as soldiers moved into the area where Boko Haram members were believed to be hiding, residents said.
“There have been at least eight explosions in these neighbourhoods and soldiers have moved in with tanks and have taken over the whole area,” one resident said Tuesday.
Another said the area was largely deserted of residents after earlier signs that soldiers were preparing a crackdown. Alleyways had been sealed off ahead of Tuesday evening’s violence, they said.
The explosions and gunfire began rocking the city at around 4:30 pm and stopped at around 9:00 pm.