Nigeria offensive: 14 insurgents, 3 soldiers killed



Abuja: At least 14 Islamist insurgents and three soldiers have been killed in Nigerian military's crackdown on terrorists, as the restive Maiduguri city in northern state of Borno was placed under a 24-hour curfew.

"After a mop up of scenes of battle (since Saturday), 14 terrorists were confirmed dead... Altogether three soldiers died, while seven are wounded and are being treated in a military medical facility," the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Maiduguri has been the enclave of radical Islamist Boko Haram sect which has vowed to carve out an Islamic caliphate in the oil rich African country.

Meanwhile, airstrikes against the militants continued especially in areas distant from the state capital which the extremists have made their stronghold, subjecting locals to Sharia-type administration.

Frightened residents had attempted to flee towards the border towns for fear of being caught in any crossfire but the military advised them to go home and remain indoors.

Supply routes to the militants were sealed and reinforcement sent to border posts to stop them from escaping, the military said.

President Goodluck Jonathan had pronounced an emergency rule in the area last week.

Local TV channels quoted military spokesman Brig General Christopher Olukolade as saying that 14 insurgents were killed while scores were arrested in Maiduguri. He also said that vehicles and weapons were recovered from them.

"Troops have continued the advance and attack on identified terrorist camps in the Northern part of the country. Patrols are also ongoing to secure towns and villages from infiltration, while curfews on identified flash points are being enforced," he said.

"Dislodged terrorist have been noted to be in disarray with a large number of them heading backwards various borders. There bases are being deserted but they are making efforts to evacuate most of the large stock of logistics including scores of vehicles in their holdings," Olukolade said.

Boko Haram insurgents have been attacking government structures, killing politicians, government officials, traditional rulers, soldiers, police and civilians since 2009. More than 2,000 persons have been killed in their assaults.

Earlier, an amnesty committee was inaugurated by the country's President in a bid to seek truce but the group rejected the offer in a video message.

PTI