Nigerian troops have closed the only safe highway that leads into Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, North east Nigeria, following a series of attacks on the route by Boko Haram insurgents in the last 48 hours. It is not certain how long the closure will last, but motorists said they were stopped from plying the route early Wednesday.
There are six major highways that take travelers in and out of Maiduguri. But with the capture of territories and displacement of residents from their communities in 2014, five roads were closed by the military due to security concerns and the sixth recently due to fresh Boko Haram attacks.
The military and residents feared that should the Maiduguri-Damaturu Road fall under the control of Boko Haram, the insurgents would have effectively won the war because the Borno State capital would have been practically cut off from all access by land.
On Christmas Day, three weeks ago, suspected Boko Haram gunmen carried out a major attack on a military base located at Kukareta village of Yobe state, along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, where they burned down the camp and dislodged the checkpoint being manned by soldiers there and last week Monday, Boko Haram insurgents also carried out yet another attack on Auno village, 25km away from Maiduguri.
Though reasons behind military’s decision to close down the road have not been made clear, it was learned from reliable sources that Ngamdu, a boundary village between Borno and Yobe state, located along the Maiduguri-Damaturu Highway, was attacked last night.