Nigerian airport may reopen 18 months after raid

2015-06-10 21:18
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. (File, AFP)

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. (File, AFP)

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Maiduguri - Nigeria's military has indicated that the airport in the northeastern city of Maiduguri could soon reopen to commercial flights after an 18 month shutdown after a Boko Haram raid.

Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Olusola Amosu said the military had assured the country's airports operator that the airport will be open "very soon".

"But we may decide to advise for its closure anytime we find it necessary or due to the volume of our operations," he told reporters in the city on Tuesday.

Zannah Mustapha, deputy governor of Borno state where Maiduguri is located, said talks had begun with some airlines and one private operator could start flying to the strategic city as soon as next Friday.

Boko Haram fighters staged a daring assault on a military and air force base in and around the airport on December 2, 2013, which led to the suspension of commercial flights into and out of Maiduguri.

Since then, regular attacks including suicide bombings have rocked the city and only military planes have been allowed to use the airport.

Nigeria's military control and command centre has now been moved from the capital, Abuja, to Maiduguri, as part of a renewed drive against the extremists from new President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari has made crushing the Islamists his administration's top priority but since his inauguration on May 29 there have been 12 suspected Boko Haram attacks that have left at least 109 people dead.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  nigeria  |  security  |  west africa

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