Boko Haram insurgents attacked Nigeria’s city of Maiduguri in the volatile northeast killing 16 people, including nine children who were playing football in a field, local militia told Newsmen Wednesday.
Boko Haram has previously made incursions into Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, using heavy guns and suicide bombers.
The death toll has risen to 16,” Babakura Kolo, the leader of a self-defence militia, told News men also in one of the neighbourhoods affected, Gwange, nine boys were killed when one of the explosives landed in a field where they were playing football.
Another militiaman, Umar Ari, gave the same death toll and said it could still rise as many were injured.
Eyewitness Sama’ila Ibrahim said the jihadists crossed the ditch fortification around Maiduguri, sending residents scrambling for safety with sporadic shooting.
Ibrahim said the militants came through Boboshe village, a known Boko Haram enclave.
Attacks by the group aimed at overrunning the regional capital are usually foiled in fierce gun battles with Nigerian troops.
In February last year, Boko Haram fired volleys of explosives into the city, injuring several people.
Since the insurgency began in 2009, the jihadist conflict has killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in the region.
The violence has spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.