Troops of the Nigerian Army on Sunday battled insurgents from the terrorist group, Boko Haram, along the Maiduguri-Damaturu Expressway, causing a traffic standstill for three hours.
The shootout battle occurred shortly after the soldiers repelled an attempt by the insurgents to take over a military base in Jakana town, about 41km from Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
The shootout took place at Lawan-Mainari village, about two kilometres from Jakana town, Premium Times quoted security sources as saying.
Bukar Adam, a local security operative who lives in Jakana, told the online newspaper that the soldiers halted movement on the highway for over three hours to avoid civilian casualties.
“The Boko Haram gunmen came out through the Lawan-Mainari axis of the highway to probably attack the military base there. They had engaged one another in a shootout for some hour.
“One is not sure if they had repelled the attack but the soldiers are yet to open the roads,” he said.
The Borno State commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Abioye Babalola, also confirmed the development.
He said the attack had been repelled and travellers have been escorted in a long convoy down to Damaturu, the Yobe state capital.
“It was an attack on the military at a location between Jakana and Mainok,” he said.
“The military has effectively repelled the attack and reopened the road for commuters. But we have to provide an escort to them down to Damaturu, to avoid any likelihood of the terrorists returning to attack innocent travellers.”