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Over 100 dead in fight for Nigeria's Maiduguri

More than 100 people, mainly insurgents, died in fighting on Sunday in Nigeria's Maiduguri.

FILE: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Picture: EPA.

BAUCHI, NIGERIA - More than 100 people, mainly insurgents, died in fighting in Nigeria's Maiduguri, a local journalist counting bodies at the biggest morgue said on Monday.

The local reporter, Bello Dukku, said by telephone that, the dead also included at least 15 soldiers and a few civilians.

Dukku said he had to leave the morgue after counting 100 bodies, because of the overwhelming stench. He said another 50 people had been injured in the fighting.

On Sunday, suspected Boko Haram militants began attacking Nigeria's major northeastern city of Maiduguri just after midnight.

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

Roads were closed and commercial activity‎ was 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.

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

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