Following a wave of assassinations in northeastern Nigeria that journalists and Nigerian authorities have linked to Boko Haram, more violence occurred this weekend.
On Saturday night, police in Maiduguri got into a shootout with suspected members of Boko Haram, which reportedly resulted in the deaths of two sect members and three civilian bystanders. More details:
Police say the shooting Saturday night came as police and soldiers encountered two groups of suspected members of the Boko Haram sect in Maiduguri.
Borno state police commissioner Mohammed Abubakar said Sunday that the suspected Boko Haram members shot first at the security forces manning roadblocks.
AFP reports that yesterday Nigerian police started a manhunt for surviving participants in the gun battle:
Troops hunted sect members on Sunday who authorities said opened fire on the military patrol the previous day.
[Police spokesman Lawal] Abdullahi said earlier in the day that soldiers cordoned off areas where the shootout occurred and were searching for the attackers “who we believe are still in the neighbourhoods.”
Residents said the shootout lasted about 30 minutes.
“Soldiers are everywhere, moving door-to-door looking for the attackers while people remain indoors,” a resident of one of the areas being searched told AFP by phone earlier Sunday.
These reports give a mixed portrait of the control security forces have in Maiduguri. On the one hand, soldiers are “everywhere,” and residents of the city notice. On the other hand, police and soldiers are vulnerable even at their own roadblocks, and massive dragnet-type operations have not so far yielded up the perpetrators of violence or stopped the violence itself. Gaps in security – and perhaps support from segments of the poor – have allowed Boko Haram to continue their attacks, and it seems more violence lies ahead.