Nigeria’s military says it has fought off an attack by Boko Haram militants outside the capital of the northeastern state of Borno and says it has sent in reinforcements for the city.
Military officials say the Islamist militants launched an attack Friday on the town of Konduga, about 35 kilometers outside of the state capital, Maiduguri. They say the militants suffered causalities during several hours of heavy fighting.
No independent confirmation of the fighting was immediately available.
Nigeria’s government has faced criticism for not doing enough to battle Boko Haram militants, who have overrun a string of towns in the country’s northeast in recent weeks.
A military spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade told VOA that national army soldiers have been placed on high alert in Maiduguri following reports that militants would attack the city.
While he said the reports are intended to create panic, he also said the military is not dismissing them, however, and is increasing its defense of the city.
“We have firmed up and upgraded all the defense arrangements around Maiduguri city and the environs to ensure that terrorists and their allies don’t find it easy to assault that town,” said Olukolade.
Boko Haram has been seizing control of towns in Nigeria’s Borno state since the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, announced creation of a caliphate, or a state under Islamic law, last month.
The Islamist radical group is blamed for thousands of deaths since beginning its uprising against the Nigerian government five years ago.