Multiple media sources have reported that suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked the city of Maiduguri on Wednesday, June 7, beginning at around 19:00 (local time). According to some reports, attacks began in the outskirts of the city (possibly at the Giwa military barracks) with explosions and heavy gunfire that lasted at least 45 minutes. The Nigerian military allegedly responded rapidly to contain the attack as thousands of city residents fled the area. The number of militant and civilian casualties is unknown, but some sources reported that children were struck by stray bullets.
The city of Maiduguri, and in particular its university, has been targeted by multiple suicide attacks in 2017. The northeastern region of Nigeria is highly susceptible to attacks by Boko Haram, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) in March 2015 and formally adopted the name of Islamic State in West Africa. Al-Barnaoui, son of Mohammed Yusuf - the founder of Boko Haram - was nominated by IS in August 2016 to replace Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram since 2009. Since then, the two leaders have been leading dissident factions with mixed ambitions, Al-Barnaoui blaming Shekau for massacring civilians rather than focusing on military targets.
Terrorist attacks are common in northern cities and towns. Public venues (markets, places of worship, schools, bars, areas where broadcasts of sports competitions are displayed, etc.) as well as security forces and governmental buildings are frequently struck by attacks, suicide bombings (targeted or untargeted), and kidnappings (regularly followed by assassination and targeting primarily foreign nationals).
The security environment in Nigeria is complex and particularly poor in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Some Western governments consequently advise against travel to certain areas of the northeast (e.g. states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Jigawa as well as parts of Kano and Adamawa states) and the southern Niger Delta region (e.g. states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers). Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to these areas.
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