MOSCOW, February 1 (Sputnik) — Boko Haram's attack on Maiduguri was repelled, as Chad continued airstrikes on the group's positions in Gamboru, AFP reported. Meanwhile, violence in Nigeria spread westwards as blasts in Gombe killed five people and a suicide bombing in Potiskum killed 10.
In Maiduguri, which is located in Nigeria's northwestern Borno state, the army together with local vigilantes repelled Boko Haram's attack, as defense officials boasted of a significant victory.
FLASH: Attack on Maiduguri successfully repelled. Many Terrorists were killed as we inflicted heavy casualties on them… /1 #COINUpdate— DEFENCE HQ NIGERIA (@DefenceInfoNG) February 1, 2015
Life in the city returned to relative calm, according to a Nigerian daily, the Premium Times, although many civilians are said to have been killed in the crossfire. Boko Haram fighters previously attacked Maiduguri on February 25, but were driven back, although they were able to capture the town of Monguno to the north, as well as a military base.
"We are seeing more and more troops arrive in Fokotol. They are growing in size every day," a local resident told AFP.
The Chadian and Cameroonian forces which are also said to possess artillery, expanded their control of the area as an elite Cameroonian army battalion seized control of two cross-borer bridges, according to the agency.
Suicide Bomb Attacks Spread West
Five more people were killed by two blasts in the city of Gombe, the capital of Gombe state, which is also considered an area of Boko Haram's operations. Two people were killed at a marketplace by an explosion from an unknown source and moments later a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up outside a military checkpoint, killing one soldier and two civilians, AFP reported.
Stability Uncertain as Elections Loom
The electoral commission is struggling as over a million internally displaced people have to be allowed to vote, according to Reuters. In addition, foreign observers announced that they will not be able to monitor elections in the area because of the unrest, according to AFP.
Boko Haram is a militant group, which aims at establishing an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. Large swathes of land in the Borno State, as well as in neighboring Adamawa and Yobe are believed to be under control of the Islamists. The Boko Haram insurgency has left over 13,000 people dead since 2009.
On January 4, Boko Haram militants captured the town of Baga in Borno State, reportedly killing hundreds. "The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous," Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for a local defense group that fights militants, told the Associated Press. Reports emerged that approximately 2,000 people, mostly women, children and the elderly, were killed, according to Amnesty International.