News / Africa

Nigerian Town Regains Control After Islamist Assault

FILE - Women walk by homes destroyed by Boko Haram militants in Bama, Borno State, Nigeria.
FILE - Women walk by homes destroyed by Boko Haram militants in Bama, Borno State, Nigeria.
Reuters

The Nigerian town of Bama remains under government control after an assault by Boko Haram, the Borno state government and local vigilante groups said on Wednesday, contradicting reports that the Islamist group had seized much of it.

The attack on Bama began on Monday, and on Tuesday residents and several security sources, including a soldier on the ground, said the insurgents had overrun much of it.

Nigeria's military has remained silent since the attack began. A defense spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. There was no immediate comment from Boko Haram, which never communicates with the press beyond releasing videos of its leader, Abubakar Shekau.

The seizure of the town, if true, would bring the rebels closer to the Borno state capital Maiduguri, 70 km to the northwest. It would also signal that they have shifted tactics to holding territory rather than simply creating mayhem.

Fears that Maiduguri could be the next target prompted the government to extend a curfew in place there to 7:00 p.m. (1800 GMT) until 6:00 a.m. - it previously started at 10:00 p.m.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The insurgents captured the remote farming town of Gwoza, along the Cameroon border, during fighting last month. Shekau in a video declared it a “Muslim territory” last week. That occurred two months after Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria declared the area they had seized an Islamic caliphate.

“The attack on Bama town... was very unfortunate, but I want to reassure our people that government is on top of the situation,” Borno state deputy governor Zanna Mustapha, who is also an opposition politician, said in a statement. “Our security forces are engaging the insurgents in a fierce battle.”

Local pro-government vigilantes also said the town remained in the hands of Nigerian forces.

“Our gallant soldiers successfully repelled the insurgents who attacked Bama, [which] has never been overrun or overtaken by the insurgents even for a minute,” a spokesman for the youth vigilantes Jibrin Gunda told journalists.

Defense Spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade has not commented, although on his Twitter account he re-tweeted a comment by state television that “Bama is not in the hands of terrorists, situation in the region is being contained,” which the station sourced to the deputy governor.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says 9,000 people have been fled fighting in northeast Nigeria in the past 10 days over the border to Cameroon. More than 700,000 people have been displaced externally and internally by the conflict.

Shekau's forces have killed thousands since launching an uprising in 2009 to revive a medieval Islamic caliphate in religiously mixed Nigeria. They are by far the biggest security threat to Africa's biggest economy.   

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid