Nigerian militants seize town

Nigeria’s military repelled an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants on the Borno state capital Maiduguri in the northeast, security sources said yesterday, but the insurgents captured another Borno town.

The assault on Maiduguri, with a population of about two million, began just after midnight.

Sources at two hospitals said at least eight people had died and 27, mostly civilians, had been injured.

A raid on the town of Monguno, 140km north, began later in the morning and was under militant control by the late afternoon.

The army’s inability to quash the Sunni jihadist group is a major headache for President Goodluck Jonathan, who is seeking re-election in February and visited the state capital on Saturday as part of his campaign.

Opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari was due to arrive today.

The elections are expected to be the most hotly contested since the end of military rule in 1999, with many fearing violence in the aftermath.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the commercial capital Lagos yesterday to urge the candidates and their supporters to respect the election outcome, underscoring US concerns that post-poll violence could destabilise the country and undermine the fight against Boko Haram.

– Lanre Ola, Reuters

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