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Boko Haram Seizes Nigerian City

Adamawa state, Nigeria

Witnesses say Boko Haram militants have taken over a city in northeastern Nigeria, again defying a cease-fire declared by the government earlier this month.

Local residents tell VOA's Hausa language service that militants stormed the city of Mubi on Thursday, pillaging the local emir's palace and releasing jailed militants from a prison.

Mubi resident Isa Ahmadu reported seeing Boko Haram militants wearing black turbans and chanting "God is Great" as they patrolled the city on motorbikes. He also said Nigerian soldiers have either fled the city or abandoned their combat positions.

The Nigerian air force is reported to have launched air strikes in Mubi to counter the Boko Haram advance.

The attack occurred as a Boko Haram delegation holds talks with the Nigerian government in Chad. The talks are centered on freeing the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April and enforcing the cease-fire agreement the Nigerian government announced earlier this month.

A number of kidnappings and deadly attacks since the announcement have raised questions about whether all factions of the militant group are on board with the agreement.

Boko Haram has battled the Nigerian government since 2009 with the stated goal of creating a strict Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

The group is blamed for thousands of fatal bombings, shootings, and raids on towns and cities. The militants control a number of localities in Borno and Adamawa states. Mubi, a city of 225,000 in Adamawa, is one of the largest the group has seized.