Nigeria: Police Officers Engage Boko Haram in Shootout, Rescue Kidnapped Travellers

The attack is believed to be the first Boko Haram attack since the death of their leader, Abubakar Shekau.

A security team led by police officers engaged Boko Haram gunmen in a shootout and rescued many people earlier kidnapped by the terrorists.

The incident happened on Friday and involved the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Borno State Government.

The operation was confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES by some of the victims and an official of the RRS.

The incident occurred at about 4.30 p.m. along the Maiduguri-Kano highway.

The attack on travellers on the route was the first since February when gunmen attacked a bridal train and abducted many of them.

It is also believed to be the first by Boko Haram since the death of the leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau, who reportedly committed suicide during a fight with a splinter group, ISWAP.

The Rescue

The RRS, led by their commander, Abioye Babalola, responded to a distress call by some of the travellers who had managed to escape.

Sources familiar with the incident said the gunmen who rode in five gun trucks stormed the highway after engaging some personnel of the counterterrorism unit of the police.

Many vehicles stopped while travellers jumped out of and fled into the bush.

“While they were rounding up some of us, the travellers who could not escape, the RRS squad suddenly arrived and engaged them in fierce shooting, which forced them to abandon the passengers,” said Bashir Musa, a traveller who survived the attack.

“It was a fierce fight and the RRS policemen did well because they arrived on time and kept on fighting and advancing while shooting teargas that forced the gunmen to flee and left us lying face down.”