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BORNO: At least five killed as terrorists propel grenades into community

SEVERAL rocket-propelled grenades were launched into a community in Borno State by suspected terrorists, resulting in at least five fatalities and 11 injuries.

According to two anti-jihadist militia commanders who spoke to AFP yesterday, some fighters attempted to attack the town of Damboa late on Friday but were greeted with fierce opposition by the paramilitary group that backs the armed forces.

The attack is the most recent in Nigeria’s northeast’s 14-year jihadist conflict, which has claimed 40,000 lives and forced more than two million people from their homes since 2009.

“Out of desperation, the insurgents fired an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) on the town from a distance, which killed five people and injured 11 others,” said Babakura Kolo, a militia leader in the region.

According to Ibrahim Liman, a second militia commander, the five deceased victims were laid to rest on Saturday while the wounded were transported by helicopter to the regional capital Maiduguri for medical care.

When contacted for comment, the army, whose soldiers were in the town defending the military base, did not immediately return the call.

Damboa, around 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of Maiduguri, which lies on the fringes of the Sambisa forest, a game reserve that has become a jihadist enclave, has been repeatedly targeted by fighters who attack residents and a military base.

Although the Boko Haram jihadist group and its rival, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), commonly launch RPG attacks on military targets, they rarely use them on civilians.

Boko Haram has often launched rocket-propelled grenade volleys against Maiduguri in an effort to seize control of the city; the most recent attack occurred in February 2021, when 10 persons were killed and about 60 were injured.

At least five people were hurt when jihadists opened fire with several mortar bombs on voters in February, the day of a presidential election from mountains overlooking the town of Gwoza on the Cameroonian border.

Seven people were killed in September 2017 when Boko Haram extremists in two pickup vehicles launched a rocket-propelled grenade into a camp for displaced people in the town of Ngala, which is also close to the Cameroonian border.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who took office in May, has said that combating insecurity is a top priority as forces fight jihadists and heavily armed criminal gangs while simultaneously attempting to put a stop to intercommunal conflicts and separatist tensions in several regions of the country.

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