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Nigeria military continues attacks on Boko Haram

The situation in Maiduguri remains uncertain after attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants on two towns.

A screengrab taken from a video released on Youtube apparently shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau (C) sitting flanked by militants. Picture:AFP.

NIGERIA - The situation in Maiduguri, Borno state capital remains fluid and uncertain as the Nigeria military continues its coordinated air and land strikes on Boko Haram following the attacks on two nearby towns on Sunday morning.

It is not clear what the true situation in Maiduguri is at the moment but Eyewitness News understand that there were fierce exchange of gun fire between the Nigeria army and hundreds of the insurgents who are making attempt to invade Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

Residents of Maiduguri are fleeing their houses and moving towards downtown.

President Goodluck Jonathan was in Maiduguri on Saturday as he took his campaign to the volatile city ahead of the presidential elections in February.

SUSPECTED BOKO HARAM MILITANTS ATTACK MAJOR NIGERIA CITY

Suspected Boko Haram militants began attacking Nigeria's major northeastern city of Maiduguri just after midnight on Sunday, military, government and local sources said.

At around 9am on Sunday, a Reuters witness said shelling could be heard and that military helicopters were circling the city.

All roads have been closed, a security source says, and commercial activity‎ has been shut down.

The militants began the attack at the edge of the city in the Njimtilo area. The city is the capital of Borno state and would be a major prize for the insurgents who are trying to carve out an Islamic state.

Boko Haram has waged a five-year insurgency to carve out an Islamic state in the northeast of Africa's biggest economy. The militants control vast swathes of Borno state and some areas of neighbouring Adamawa and Yobe states. They recently took control of the town and army base at Baga by Lake Chad.

The army's inability to squash the group has become a major headache for President Goodluck Jonathan, who is seeking re-election in February. Jonathan visited the state capital on Saturday as part of his campaign and opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari was due to arrive Monday.

The insurgents last attempted to take Maiduguri from the same area in December 2013 and attacked a nearby army and airforce base.

A resident, Rachel Adamu, who lives around Njimtilo said "please pray for us, we are in danger, under serious attack now."