Gov’t troops retake town
Nigerian troops retook a major border town and killed scores of Boko Haram fighters yesterday, Nigeria's military said, although witnesses also reported the Islamic extremists killed scores in attacks on other villages.
Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade said troops seized back the garrison town of Baga, on Lake Chad and the border with Cameroon, after a fighter jet bombarded the area and soldiers advanced on booby-trapped roads by dismantling some 1,500 land mines.
"Many of the terrorists died while an unknown but substantial number of them fled with various degrees of injury," said Olukolade.
The victory, which the media were unable to verify independently, comes amid a major multinational push to halt the spreading Islamic uprising by Nigeria's home-grown extremist group, which has been attacking neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
In a major turnaround after months of gains by Boko Haram, military from Nigeria and Chad have reported retaking at least a dozen towns in recent weeks that had been in extremist hands for months.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau last week warned he will disrupt March 28 presidential elections that are shaping up to be the most closely contested vote in the history of Africa's most populous nation and its biggest oil producer. Boko Haram wants to install an Islamic caliphate and says democracy is a corrupt Western concept.