Many Soldiers Killed As Militants Sack Military Base. Burn, Loot Nigerian Town

by Samuel Abasi Last updated on April 16th, 2017,

Many Soldiers Killed As Militants Sack Military Base. Burn, Loot Nigerian Town.  militants militants have raided a town in restive northeast Nigeria, looting food supplies and burning homes after overwhelming troops on Thursday. The attack late on Wednesday happened in Magumeri, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

It came after a lull in raids on major towns in the remote region following sweeping military offensives which Nigeria has claimed has severely weakened the militants to the point of defeat. Scores of militants fighters arrived in Magumeri at about 6:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) in vans, motorcycles and on foot, firing heavy weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, forcing residents to flee.

“They (militants) broke into shops and homes and took away every food item they came across,” said local resident Kulo Sheriff, who fled the town then returned on Thursday morning.
“They set fire to homes and shops as they looted them before heading into the bush hours later.”

Before looting, the fighters attacked a military base and a police station where there was a shoot-out, according to a civilian militia member assisting troops with security.
Militants overpowered the security personnel who withdrew, allowing them to loot and burn down the base and the police station, he added.

Nigeria’s military, however, claimed to have repelled the attack and “neutralized quite a number of the attackers,” recovering three vehicles and a “large quantity of arms and ammunition.”
Independent verification was not possible given access restrictions for reporters to travel outside Maiduguri without military permission.
Either way, the raid indicated that militants still has the capacity to attack major towns, despite claims it is in disarray since troops flushed them out of their Sambisa Forest stronghold.
The number of raids has decreased since the camps were routed last December, although there have been sustained attempts at suicide bombings in Maiduguri.
A civilian militia member in the city maintained militants have been weakened and their attacks were designed to re-stock dwindling food supplies, as supply lines have been cut off.
“militants are starving in the bush, they live on very little food,” said Babakura Kolo. “They are pushed more by hunger to carry out raids than desire to fight.”

The deputy governor of Nigeria’s Borno state says many soldiers may have been killed after militants extremists attacked and burned down a military base. The deputy governor says a police officer was also killed and the hospital was looted of medicine.

Usman Mamman Durkwa spoke to journalists Thursday after visiting the scene of Wednesday night’s attack in Magumeri town.

Durkwa says at first officials heard two soldiers had died. But he said “when we got there today, we discovered the number of lives lost was far beyond that.” He says he can’t give a specific death toll.

Recently, Abubakar Shekau, the contested leader of Nigeria’s militants terror group, has purportedly appeared in a video rejecting claims dozens of his fighters had been killed. In what could be his first appearance in months, Shekau criticized the Cameroonian government – part of an anti-terrorism coalition – for claiming the army had killed scores of fighters and freed thousands of hostages.

“We fought along the Cameroonian border. You lied that you killed 60 of our fighters, that you arrested 20 of our men, that you freed 5,000 of your people. [Cameroon’s President] Paul Biya, is it that you can’t live off lies? Is it with this that you are going to convince the West, your leaders? It is unfortunate. Be careful, Paul Biya,” the militant continued.

Shekau – who spoke in the local languages Hausa and Kanuri, as well as Arabic – said he was “in good health”, contrary to claims he had been injured during fighting against the Nigerian army and its allies. He added the group’s “caliphate is running smoothly”.

The footage comes days after Shekau’s faction is believed to have released an execution video. The footage shows militants killing three men accused of being military spies.

The video follows the Nigerian army’s repeated claims that the fight against the campainers, blamed for the death of thousands of people, was over.

Last month militants fighters went door-to-door seizing food aid distributed days earlier in Gajiram, some 100 kilometers by road from Magumeri, after a battle with police and soldiers.

militants’s campain has triggered a major humanitarian situation in northeastern Nigeria, where 7.1 million people are “severely food insecure,” according to the UN.
Aid agencies say parts of Borno state are suffering from “famine-like conditions.”
Poor governance and climate change have also been powerful contributors to the situation in the region.

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Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

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