Hours after the Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Magashi (retd.) led the Chief of Defence Chief, Gen Leo Irabor and other service chiefs on an assessment visit to Maiduguri, Borno State, the Boko Haram insurgents invaded Dikwa town with several gun trucks.

SaharaReporters learnt that the Boko Haram and Islamic State West African Province fighters attacked Dikwa town, only about 85 kilometres to Maiduguri, on Sunday evening, engaging the troops in a gun battle which lasted for hours.

It was gathered that there were explosions in parts of the town, even as the ISWAP fighters took control of the major access roads into the area.

“The troops are still trying to contain them. But the situation is fluid and overwhelming. This is the fourth time ISWAP and Boko Haram have attacked the town since January,” a source said. 

During the previous attack in March, the insurgents had dislodged troops of the Nigerian Army, grounded the town and destroyed humanitarian facilities which gradually forced the aid workers to abandon the town.

On Saturday, the UN had already announced suspension of humanitarian operations in Dikwa and Damasak.

Meanwhile in Maiduguri, the defence minister talked about the recruitment of more personnel into the armed forces, looking at the overwhelming security situation the military was dealing with, particularly in the North-East.

“Very soon we will embark on recruitment of other soldiers and officers so that we can improve the manpower of our armed forces. Your commanders will brief you on further details of what we discussed with them.

“You are doing your best and we recognise that. You have already been baptised, all you need to do is to find the enemy and bring him to his knees. We have the resources, the equipment to improve your standard and training to be able to do this good job.

“We will continue to improve on your welfare and allowances and all what is due to you,” the minister told the troops in Maiduguri.