Nigeria troops battle Boko Haram near Bauchi: residents, military

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Nigerian troops battled scores of Boko Haram fighters
outside the northeastern city of Bauchi on Sunday,
residents and a military source told AFP.
Soldiers supported by two fighter jets intercepted the
militants who were in 20 pick-up trucks at Dungulbe
village, seven kilometres (four miles) from the city, and
engaged them in fierce fighting.
“The fighter jets are pounding the enemy position while
ground troops are engaging them,” said a military officer
in the city, who asked not to be identified, in an account
supported by residents.
“The operation is still ongoing but the terrorists have
suffered serious losses and are in disarray,” the officer
added.
The fighting was taking place as Nigeria was holding a
second day of voting in its general election after
technology failures hampered polling on Saturday.
The Islamists arrived in the village around 10:00 am
(0900 GMT) and set up camp in preparation for an
invasion of the city, said Dungulbe resident Mudassir
Hambali, who fled to Bauchi.
“They came in 20 vehicles carrying heavy weapons. As
soon as I realised what was happening I fled through the
bus with my family.
“I saw a large convoy of soldiers heading towards the
village while I and my family were trekking to Bauchi.”
Anas Uballe, from Inkil village, two kilometres from
Dungulbe, said: “I saw two military jets dropping bombs
and the huge explosions terrified our village which forced
us to move into the city.”
The militants were believed to have come through the
town of Alkaleri, 60 kilometres away, where there was a
dawn raid on Saturday, according to the military source
and residents who fled.
Gunmen in several vehicles attacked public buildings and
security checkpoints.
A police station, the office of the paramilitary Nigeria
Security and Civil Defence force and the local electoral
commission premises were all burned to the ground.
“They moved to Bishi, 35 kilometres away, where they
shot dead a man in his car on the highway,” said Alkaleri
resident Babale Shehu.
“They were no doubt the same gunmen that went to
Dungulbe.”
The gunmen also on Sunday attacked polling stations and
destroyed ballot boxes in Bauchi, state police spokesman
Haruna Mohammed said.
“Today… at about 0025 hours, unspecified numbers of
unknown gunmen in a convoy of over 10 vehicles
stormed many polling units in Kirfi… and destroyed many
electoral materials,” he said.
“(The) hoodlums further attacked Kirfi and Alkaleri
Divisional Police Headquarters but were repelled and
pursued towards Dindima town.”
The police statement did not mention Boko Haram or the
operation in Dungulbe, which comes after at least seven
people were killed in suspected Boko Haram attacks in
neighbouring Gombe state Saturday.
“The entire surroundings has been cordoned off by
combined security forces and effort is being intensified to
restore normalcy in the area,” said Haruna.

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