by Compiled from Wire Services
Mar 16, 2015 12:00 am
Fighters from Nigeria's Boko Haram insurgency attacked a village in Chad early on Sunday, killing one person, local residents said. Boko Haram, which is seeking to carve an emirate affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham out of northeastern Nigeria, has expanded its zone of operations over the past year, but attacks on Chadian territory remain rare. "Boko Haram elements this morning attacked the village of Djargagoroum, between Ngouboua and Kaiga," said a resident of the targeted village who asked not to be named. "The attack was repelled. We count one dead and two houses were burned." Boko Haram raided nearby Ngouboua, on the shores of Lake Chad, last month in the group's first known lethal attack on Chadian soil. Chad's military has spearheaded an operation by Nigeria's neighbors against the insurgency, which has killed thousands.
The militants also have set fire to homes in Nigeria's northeast town of Bama that are under their control, forcing residents to flee as troops advance to recapture it, witnesses said Sunday. The militants told residents of Bama, 70 kilometers (37.5 miles) southeast of Maiduguri, to evacuate before setting fire to many homes as Nigerian troops inched closer in a bid to retake the town, residents told AFP. The blaze forced hundreds of residents to flee towards Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, the group's hometown and stronghold. "They came into the town around 12:00 pm (1100 GMT) warning that anyone who wanted to leave should leave the town and soon after they began torching homes," resident Umar Kaka said. "Not all residents could leave because some are too sick or old to leave and we are afraid they were burnt in the homes," Kaka said.
The arson followed the sacking of the militants from nearby Boboshe and Yale villages by troops as they marched towards Bama, said Kaka who arrived in Maiduguri on foot on Sunday. "We learnt soldiers were coming. They advanced on Bama on two fronts and met some resistance at Boboshe and Yale but succeeded in crushing the Boko Haram gunmen," said Bama resident Ibrahim Kyari. "They asked residents to leave which came to us as a surprise because they kept us captives all these seven months and would not allow us to leave," Kyari said. "I left large groups of people including women and children on the way trekking towards Maiduguri while soldiers moved towards Bama," said Kyari, who rode to Maiduguri on his bicycle.
Bama, a strategic and historic town in the state, has been under the control of Boko Haram since early September. Boko Haram seized Bama, the state's second main city, during the rapid capture of several towns and villages in northeastern Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states on the border with Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The militants carried out mass killings in the town, forcing hundreds of residents to flee while others remained trapped there.