Boko Haram Captures Nigerian Military Base in Northeast BagaMichael Olukayode and Mustapha Muhammad
A Nigerian military base in the northeastern town of Baga was captured by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, according to residents who fled the attacks.
The insurgents raised their flag at the headquarters of the multinational joint task force base, Abba Modu, one of thousands of local residents who escaped the raid on Jan. 3, said in an interview in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.
“They did not spare anybody as they shot at men, women and even children who were fleeing inside the bush,” Ibrahim Kaka, another resident who fled, said in Maiduguri. Military spokesman Chris Olukolade didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone or immediately reply to a text message seeking comment.
Boko Haram has attacked security forces and other civilian targets in its six-year campaign to impose Islamic law in Africa’s largest economy and oil producer. During that time, the group has killed more than 13,000 people in the West African nation, President Goodluck Jonathan said in September.
At least 20 people were killed after the militants also attacked the town of Cross in Borno state on Jan. 3, Ali Mohammed, a local businessman, said by phone.
The insurgents overran Baga and Cross and “the joint multi national forces have fought Boko Haram, but the information we are receiving is that the insurgents over powered them,” Senator Maina Maaji Lawan, who represents the region, said by phone yesterday.
Nigeria is re-equipping its armed forces and is determined to win the war against terrorism that has “unleashed great pain and agony,” Jonathan said in a national broadcast on New Year’s Day. The president, who faces a re-election challenge in February amid the Islamist insurgency, said security agencies will be bolstered to ensure the balloting is peaceful.