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Chadian Troops Retake Nigerian Village From Boko Haram

  • VOA News

FILE - Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram attacks continue to enter Chad; men on camels cross the water as a woman washes clothes in Lake Chad at Ngouboua, Jan. 19, 2015.

FILE - Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram attacks continue to enter Chad; men on camels cross the water as a woman washes clothes in Lake Chad at Ngouboua, Jan. 19, 2015.

Chadian troops aiding the fight against Boko Haram reportedly have retaken a village in far northeastern Nigeria from the militants.

Aboubakar Moustapha, who lives across the border in Niger, told VOA's French to Africa Service that Chadian forces took control of Malumfatori village on Thursday after a series of nighttime airstrikes.

In a telephone interview, Moustapha said he saw planes and heard bombing in the area Wednesday evening, then learned from Niger troops of the town's recapture. He said the troops were sealing off the border to prevent fleeing militants from crossing over.

No officials have confirmed the report, but the Nigerian military said on Twitter that its air force has conducted missions around Malumfatori for the past two days. It also indicated Chadian troops were active in the area.

Chad and Cameroon recently deployed forces to combat Boko Haram, which has seized much of Nigeria's Borno state, including a key multinational military base on the shores of Lake Chad.

Adamawa state residents fleeing

Meanwhile, many residents in neighboring Adamawa state have fled their homes after a string of deadly attacks by the radical Islamist group.

Between Friday and Monday, the armed insurgents hit at least five villages in the Michika area. Residents said the fighters arrived on motorbikes and four-wheel drive vehicles, then looted and burned homes.

In Liddle, a community of about 150, many were still asleep when the militants arrived Sunday morning.

Margret Yohanna was in bed when she heard the first gunshots.

"The village is very isolated," she said. "As I heard the rebels approaching, I knew my only option was to run."

Yohanna did not hesitate to identify the militants who she said killed her father-in-law, then her husband. "Boko Haram," she said.

Those who escaped the violence in Adamawa fled south to Yola, about 230 kilometers away, where they began arriving Tuesday to join camps for those already displaced. They said at least 100 people had fled from each of at least four communities, but did not know how many the insurgents had killed. Other Adamawa residents said dozens were dead.

Boko Haram as election issue

Nigeria is preparing to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on February 14. The Boko Haram insurgency has become a key issue as President Goodluck Jonathan tries to win a new term, with former military ruler Mohammadu Buhari serving as his main challenger.

Jonathan enacted a state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in May 2013 as part of an effort to fight the militants, but their attacks have continued.

The violence has cast doubts on whether people in parts of the northeast will be able to vote on Election Day.

Katarina Hoije contributed to this report from Yola.

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