Friday, 7 November 2014

Boko Haram Renames Another Town in Borno, 21 Killed in Clash With Military

Boko Haram Fighters
Boko Haram has renamed Gwoza town in Borno State which it captured, as part of a campaign to establish a caliphate in the North-eastern region, residents who have fled in recent days told AFP on Thursday.

The Islamists seized the town of Mubi in Adamawa State last week and now insist it be called Madinatul Islam, or “City of Islam” in Arabic.
Gwoza in neighbouring Borno State which was captured in July is now being called Darul Hikma or “House of Wisdom,” multiple residents said.

Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a video released in August declared that he had made Gwoza part of a caliphate — an announcement that recalled a similar move by the Islamic State militant group which has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria.

The extremists are believed to control more than two dozen towns and villages in the North-east and there are signs that they are trying to advance south towards Adamawa’s capital Yola.

“They have given new names to Gwoza and Mubi, which they say are now part of their Islamic State,” said Ahmad Maishanu, who fled Mubi with his mother on Wednesday to Yola.

Tijjani Kalifa, who left Mubi on Monday and has contacts in Gwoza, also reported that Boko Haram was forcing people in both towns to use the new names.

Both witnesses said all the churches in Mubi had been burnt down and that Islamists were patrolling the streets regularly, with no sign of resistance from the security services.

The renaming of Gwoza is coming as Senator Maina Maaji Lawan on Thursday said 21 persons were killed after the insugents clashed with soldiers in Malam Fatori, Borno State, Wednesday.

Malam Fatori is a commercial hub known for fishing and farming in the remote part of the state, near the border with Niger Republic.

“Boko Haram tried to attack Malam Fatori... but they met stiff resistance from the Multi-National Joint Task Force who initially repelled the attack after prolonged fighting,” said Lawan.
“They pushed back the insurgents and people in the town and the soldiers thought it was over but the insurgents mobilised more men and weapons including an armoured personnel carrier (APC) and launched a renewed attack.
“They overpowered the soldiers who were forced to flee.

The insurgents went into the town shooting indiscriminately. They killed 21 people.”
According to AFP, local residents put the civilian death toll at 16 and claimed that dozens of militants were killed in the initial military response on the ground and from the air.
Aminu Ahmad, who lives in the Abadam Local Government Area, of which Malam Fatori is the biggest town, estimated that “hundreds” of heavily armed Boko Haram fighters arrived in a convoy of pick-up trucks.

“Honestly, it was a bad outing for the insurgents because dozens of them were killed,” he said.
The troops involved were from Nigeria, Chad and Niger and were stationed nearby.

The multi-national force was set up in the late 1990s to fight cross-border crime and arms trafficking but its responsiblity was expanded to include Boko Haram, when the insurgency started in 2009.
The fighting forced thousands of people to flee the area across the border, said residents and Lawan, who represents northern Borno in the upper house of parliament.

“The town was deserted as a result of the attack and thousands of people crossed into Niger and are now camped in Bosso town which is only five kilometres (three miles) away,” he said.

“Malam Fatori is a big commercial centre in the region with a reputation of farming and fishing centre. The displacement of the people will have adverse effect on the town.

ThisDay Newspaper