JTF kills 16 Boko Haram members in Maiduguri

Officers of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in Borno state, shot dead 16 suspected militants in a gun duel with Islamist sect Boko Haram on Tuesday, the military said.

“Some suspected Boko Haram terrorists attempted to open fire on (security) operatives but could not succeed. We have so far shot dead 16 of the terrorists during a shoot-out,” field operations officer for the state, Colonel Victor Ebhaleme, told Reuters news agency.

He also confirmed that the JTF officers had seized weapons and ammunition from the suspects and destroyed some of their home-made bombs in controlled explosions.

“We were able to achieve this feat based on information from the public,” he said. “There were no casualties on our side”.

There was no immediate comment from Boko Haram.

The sect claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing of a Church in Bauchi state on Sunday, which killed at least 12 people, continuing a growing pattern of attacks on Christian worshippers.

Several attempts to end the sect’s insurgency militarily have failed. Although officials say they have been weakened in recent months by the killing and arrest of some senior commanders, they remain capable of lethal attacks.

Meanwhile, gunmen shot dead a retired police officer, his driver and two aides in the city of Kano on Tuesday.