Report: Nigerian Forces Repel Boko Haram Assault on Key City

Boko Haram

Nigerian troops repelled an assault by the Boko Haram jihadist group on the key city of Maiduguri, Agence-France Presse (AFP) reports.

Violence linked to the jihadist group has gripped Nigeria.

Boko Haram attacked Maiduguri, the birthplace of the jihadist group’s movement, on Sunday, just two weeks before country’s national elections.

The jihadist group hopes to make the city the capital of their own Islamic state, Reuters reported, adding that at least eight people were killed in Sunday’s assault as the jihadists clashed with Nigeria’s military forces.

Troops were backed by vigilantes.

“The hours-long attack on the strategic capital of Borno state was the Islamists’ second attempt to take Maiduguri in a week,” noted AFP.

Boko Haram controls swaths of Nigeria. There are fears that the jihadist groups will attack voters during the national elections on February 14.

AFP reported that Chris Olukolade, a spokesman for Nigeria’s Defense ministry, said the militant’s attack on Maiduguri was “contained,” adding that “the terrorists incurred massive casualties”.

“The situation is calm as [a] mopping up operation in the affected area is ongoing,” he wrote in a text message, France’s international news agency added.

AFP noted that Boko Haram “has carried out dozens of bombings throughout its six-year uprising, which has claimed more than 13,000 lives.”

The group, which is known to target Christians in Nigeria, is fighting to create an Islamic state.

Boko Haram is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.