-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA): From Mike Sogbola, North East Correspondent:
Soldiers and mobile policemen may have reconnected Maiduguri back to the rest of the nation as they have cleared the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway off remnants of Boko Haram that have terrorized motorists in the last few days.
Six soldiers were said to have been lost in the battle, with the insurgents recording a larger number of casualties.
Security source revealed that the insurgents were engaged between Mainok and Benesheikh on the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway between 11am and 1pm on Tuesday.
The sources said the soldiers had engaged the insurgents in a shootout between 11am and 11.35am without anyway given way with casualties on both sides.
According to the source, the tide was however changed when mobile policemen led by the Commander of Borno Rapid Response Squad, CSP Abioye Babalola and Operation Commander, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Borno State Command, CSP Mohammed Ibrahim came on the scene.
The source said the two commanders where on patrol of the highway and were able to use their Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to engaged the insurgents and dispel them.
The source, who said the battle ranged on till about 1pm, said the military and policemen were able to recover back two gun truck which the insurgents had already taken from the soldiers.
The source said: “two gun trucks were recovered, but six soldiers were lost in the gun duel, two corpses of Boko Haram were seen after the crossfire ceased but many corpses were taken away by the insurgents.”
He added that: “Boko Haram equally suffered a high degree of injuries, many of them were seen leaping off in flight.”
The source, while claiming that no mobile policeman was lost in the attack, said: “Both the police team of SARS and RRS team were protected and face the battle as a result of the new APC procured by Inspector General of Police (IGP) and recently commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari and manpower that were available as a result of newly launched RRS by Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum.”
The Commander of Rapid Response Squad in Borno State, Abioye Babalola, who confirmed the incident, but did not give details of the casualties from the military and security agencies, said the team was able to record the success due largely to the APC procured by President Muhammadu Buhari and the vehicles donated to the newly established RRS by Borno Governor Babagana Umara Zulum.