Boko Haram ‘razes’ vil­lage near Chibok

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Feature/worldwide -

KANO — Boko Haram ji­hadists killed two soldiers and razed a vil­lage ad­join­ing the north­east Nigerian town of Chibok where the group kid­napped more than 200 school­girls two years ago, res­i­dents said Sunday.

The Nigerian army mean­while said it had re­taken some vil­lages from the Is­lamist group in the Lake Chad re­gion in op­er­a­tions on Fri­day and Satur­day and “res­cued” 85 peo­ple, in­clud­ing women and chil­dren. It also claimed nearly 40 Is­lamists were killed in other op­er­a­tions.

A group of Boko Haram gun­men ar­rived in Ak­wada, 10km from Chibok, late Satur­day and torched homes after loot­ing food sup­plies.

The at­tack came just hours after the army said it had res­cued one of the miss­ing Chibok school­girls with her 10-month-old baby near the Cameroon bor­der.

“Boko Haram gun­men at­tacked the vil­lage around 19:30. They fired in­dis­crim­i­nately and hurled ex­plo­sives,” res­i­dent Bitrus John told AFP.

“They killed two soldiers and in­jured an­other one in gun­fight,” he said.

Troops pa­trolling the area en­gaged the Is­lamists in a shootout, al­low­ing res­i­dents to flee the vil­lage un­hurt, said John. Soldiers had de­ployed in the vil­lage fol­low­ing in­ces­sant at­tacks in the area in re­cent months.

“The vil­lage has been en­tirely burnt, there is noth­ing left apart from burnt rub­ble of our mud houses,” said Bu­lus Sam­son.

The at­tack un­der­scores the con­tin­ued threat of Boko Haram in Nige­ria’s volatile north­east, where the mil­i­tary is bat­tling for con­trol de­spite mak­ing gains against the in­sur­gents over the past year.

It came two weeks after sim­i­lar raids on two nearby vil­lages where the Is­lamists looted and burnt homes.

The Nigerian army said on Sunday it had res­cued 85 peo­ple held by Boko Haram in vil­lages around Lake Chad. Army spokesman Sani Us­man said in a state­ment that five in­sur­gents and a sol­dier were killed and that weapons had also been re­cov­ered.

Us­man said 37 Boko Haram fight­ers were killed in an­other op­er­a­tion in four vil­lages in the south of Borno state, the epi­cen­tre of the Is­lamist up­ris­ing.

He said a lo­cal vig­i­lante died and five soldiers were wounded dur­ing the op­er­a­tion.

Boko Haram’s seven-year in­sur­gency in Nige­ria’s pre­dom­i­nantly-Mus­lim north has claimed at least 20 000 lives and made more than 2.6 mil­lion home­less.

Nigerian troops with the help of neigh­bour­ing coun­tries have re­cap­tured swathes of ter­ri­tory from Boko Haram since early 2015, but the ex­trem­ists have car­ried out spo­radic at­tacks on re­mote vil­lages in the restive re­gion. — AP

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