Armed insurgents believed to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect aimed a barrage of rockets at Maiduguri International Airport on Thursday morning, just as President Muhammadu Buhari’s plane was touching down in the Borno capital.
No injuries or fatalities were immediately confirmed but a resident who spoke with Peoples Gazette said the violence had sent residents scampering for safety.
“Those of us living along airport area have already left home because we cannot say for now how bad the attack will go,” the resident, who identified herself as Hussaina Sadiq, told The Gazette. “We had a similar experience earlier this month.”
The presidential jet touched down in Maiduguri, insurgents’ heartland since 2009, at about 11:18 a.m. on Thursday, bearing Mr Buhari on a state visit to Governor Babagana Zulum.
A spokesman for the police in Borno did not immediately return a request for comments. A military spokesman also declined comments.
The incident came weeks after Wall Street Journal reported that the Nigerian Air Force had coordinated a ransom to armed bandits operating near the president’s home Katsina in order to prevent shooting down his jet. Officials denied the report, describing it as illogical and unfounded.