26 Apr 2015

Boko Haram attacks two Borno towns

The Boko Haram insurgents seem to have regrouped and are fighting to regain towns they lost to the military recently.

A member of the youth vigilante group, Luqman Indi told our correspondent in Maiduguri that two towns, Marte and Mafa, were attacked by the insurgents between Thursday and Friday.

He said that over 2,000 Boko Haram insurgents who were armed with sophisticated weapons on Thursday laid siege to Marte.

Marte, is a border town between Nigeria and Cameroon in the northern part of Borno State. It is located in the western coast of the Lake Chad, and this will be the third time the insurgents are taking over Marte, first in 2012 but were chased out by Nigerian troops shortly after the declaration of State of Emergency in 2013.

They also launched a major attack on the town in 2014 when they captured it until they were pushed back before the last elections.

Indi said some members of the local vigilante group in Kirenowa, the major town in Marte, reported to them in Maiduguri that the insurgents invaded the town from various locations and succeeded in dislodging Nigerian troops stationed in the area.

He said scores of people were killed in the attack and some structures destroyed.

He said: "We were told the insurgents wreaked havoc in Kirenowa and environs this time around, it was unfortunate that this came when the residents that fled the area were beginning to go back."

He said: "We were told the fighting continued till early Friday when the soldiers retreated. The town has fallen and insurgents are fully in charge, they are more than 2000 in number."

The fall of Marte, a military source said, was not true, insisting that there was still ongoing battle between the troops and the insurgents.

He said: "It is true the military and the insurgents were drawn in battle at Marte, but I can tell you that the operation is ongoing, we would not allow any part of this country to be held hostage by any hoodlums."

On the attack on Mafa, Indi said the insurgents came in large number at about 6pm but met a stiff battle from the military.

He added that when they were not making any headway they retreated.

Credit: Michael Olugbode/ThisDay

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