An undated photograph from 2014 shows members of the Nigerian military patrolling in Maiduguri, North East Nigeria. EPA/STR
An undated photograph from 2014 shows members of the Nigerian military patrolling in Maiduguri, North East Nigeria. EPA/STR

Nigerian military tries to retake city

By LUCKY NWANKWERE Time of article published Jan 26, 2015

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Abuja - Heavy fighting was reported Monday as the military attempted to retake the north-eastern Nigerian city of Monguno one day after it fell to Boko Haram militants.

Military authorities revealed few details about the operation, but a source at Nigerian defence headquarters said everything was been done to drive away the insurgents from the town because of its proximity to the state capital, Maiduguri.

“We'll take it back. We have no choice but to do that because it will be dangerous to leave them in that town. They can try again to disturb the peace in Maiduguri from there. That is all I can say for now, just be on the lookout,” he said.

Residents of Maiduguri confirm that gunshots could be heard from the direction of Monguno. But a journalist who asked not to be named toldremained in firm control of the town.

“Many of them are right here in Maiduguri and the picture they are painting is not cheering at all. They said it would take a well-coordinated plan and superior military firepower to upstage those guys from Monguno,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the military has lifted the curfew imposed on Maiduguri following Saturday night attacks by Boko Haram that lasted into Sunday morning.

Nigerian Army spokesman Colonel Sani Usman said “the curfew imposed on Maiduguri has been lifted as from 6:00 am (0500 GMT). People can go about their legitimate business.”

The African Union on Monday called for stronger action against Boko Haram, saying Africa should lead the global fight against the Nigerian Islamist group, which represents “a threat to the whole continent.”

“I am deeply horrified by the tragedy Boko Haram continue to inflict on our people, kidnapping young girls from school, torching villages, terrorizing whole communities and the senseless killing,” AU chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said ahead of an AU summit in Addis Ababa later this week.

“What started off as a localized criminal gang is now spreading into West and Central Africa,” the AU chief told African foreign ministers.

“We must act now, and act collectively against this progressing threat,” Dlamini Zuma added.

The AU chief praised Chad for sending troops to help Cameroon fight Boko Haram, which keeps crossing the border from Nigeria to stage attacks.

More than 15 000 people have been killed since 2009 by Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamist state.

Sapa-dpa

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