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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
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
“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.