At least ten people were killed and 60 injured Tuesday after Boko Haram terrorists launched rocket-propelled grenades at Maiduguri, the capital city of Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State, Nigeria’s Premium Times reported.
“We have been informed that about 10 persons were killed and 60 were injured,” Borno State Governor Babagana Zulumon confirmed to the press on February 24.
“This is a new form of attack, totally different from the usual suicide bombing. It is worrisome and there is an urgent need to strategize to forestall further occurrence,” Zulumon said, referring to Boko Haram’s use of rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) on Tuesday to target densely-populated neighborhoods in the regional capital.
RPG-based attacks have traditionally been rare in Maiduguri. Militants last used RPGs in an assault on the city in July 2020, when three rockets killed four Maiduguri residents and wounded three others. Zulumon and other Borno State government officials on Wednesday suggested the use of RPGs to attack Maiduguri from beyond its exterior defenses may be a “new trend.”
Nine of the ten people killed Tuesday “were young boys hit by a bomb while playing football at Gwange ward,” a neighborhood in Maiduguri. Zulumon told reporters Wednesday that he was saddened after learning of the children’s deaths and “sympathized with those affected.”
Eyewitness Sama’ila Ibrahim told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that Boko Haram militants descended upon Maiduguri on Tuesday evening via the neighboring village of Boboshe. The village is a known enclave of the jihadi group, which was founded in Maiduguri in 2002 and has based its regional Islamic insurgency in Borno State for over a decade.
After reaching Maiduguri, Boko Haram members then crossed a ditch fortification surrounding most of the capital “and started shooting sporadically which sent people scrambling for safety,” Ibrahim told AFP.
Explosions were heard in Maiduguri starting around 5:45 p.m. local time Tuesday “and continued intermittently for about an hour,” the Premium Times reported.
“Airborne explosives began to rain down near the University of Maiduguri in the city’s east around 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday,” Reuters reported, citing an eyewitness, a local resident, and security officials.
“Blasts soon rocked other parts of eastern and northeastern Maiduguri,” the news agency added.
“An explosion killed four people near my house,” a local resident named Ali Ciroma said. A policeman and two security officials in Maiduguri later confirmed the four deaths.
Three government security officials told Reuters that the death toll from Tuesday’s attack could be higher than ten, with one official claiming that as many as 17 people were killed.
Last December, Boko Haram murdered 70 farmers in a village in northeast Nigeria in retaliation for an arrest of a Boko Haram militant.
Earlier this month, a Chibok schoolgirl escaped Boko Haram after seven years in captivity.