Conflict & Justice

Islamist militants attack Nigeria airbase


Nigerian soldiers patrol in the north of Borno state close to a former Boko Haram camp on June 5, 2013, near Maiduguri.


Quentin Leboucher/AFP/Getty Images

A 24-hour curfew has been imposed on the Nigerian city of Maiduguri after an attack on an airbase by suspected Boko Haram Islamist militants.

Hundreds of militants attacked different areas of the city, including army sites and the airbase. Its civilian airport was also briefly closed.

Local residents said the heavily armed gunmen also razed buildings and set stores and gas stations on fire.

Maiduguri was attacked with bombs and guns.

More from GlobalPost: Nigeria: Boko Haram gunmen hide weapons in coffin, kill 13

"We heard women and children in the barracks crying and wailing," a resident said. "At the gate, I saw some vehicles destroyed and the checkpoint there in shreds."

Residents living around one of the military bases said they saw people with slit throats and the bodies of militants burning in vehicles.

Ministry of Defense spokesman Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade said 24 insurgents were killed and two soldiers wounded.

He also said two helicopters and three decommissioned military aircrafts were "incapacitated" during the attack on the airbase.

The Nigerian army made a statement saying it has now "successfully repelled" the militants' attempt to gain access to Maiduguri and "inflicted serious casualties" on them.

It also asked that everyone comply with the curfew while troops pursued the insurgents.

This is the first time a curfew has been imposed in Maiduguri since 2009.