April 2 (UPI) — A suspected Boko Haram attack in Nigeria killed more than two dozen people and injured at least 68 more, officials said Monday.
The armed attack occurred Sunday night in Bale Shuwa and Bale Kura, settlements near an army encampment in Maiduguri that’s been a target for the radical Islamist group since 2009.
Security forces said insurgents infiltrated the communities and began firing at residents while detonating explosive devices. Those killed were not immediately evacuated because of darkness, and because of the possibility that Boko Haram suicide bombers remained in the settlements, Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reported.
“Sixty-eight were injured and so far, 15 innocent people were killed,” said Bello Dambatta, chairman of the rapid response team for Nigeria’s State Emergency Management Agency.
A local military commander, Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicholas, denied that any soldiers or civilians died in the attack, but said Boko Haram forces were successfully defeated.
The attack was the most deadly since the Nigerian government announced last week it’s in negotiations with insurgents to find a permanent peaceful solution.
Boko Haram split into two factions in 2016, and it’s not clear which group is in talks with the government. It’s also not clear which Boko Haram faction carried out Sunday’s attack.
Officials say more than 20,000 people have died in Nigeria in attacks by Boko Haram in the last decade.