Islamic fighters besiege Nigerian city: Senator

2014-09-03 10:51
A  screengrab taken from a video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. (Boko Haram, AFP)

A screengrab taken from a video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. (Boko Haram, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Maiduguri - Thousands of Nigerians are fleeing a northeastern city amid conflicting reports that it has been seized by Boko Haram Islamic extremists, a federal senator said on Tuesday.

The military claims to have repelled the insurgents in fierce fighting but the stream of refugees from the city indicates otherwise, said Senator Ali Ndume, who is from Borno state.

It would be a major victory for the militants if Boko Haram wins control of Bama, the second largest city in Borno state.

That would leave the way open to attack the Borno state capital of Maiduguri that is also the military headquarters of the fight against Boko Haram. Ndume said Bama is 75km from Maiduguri and has a population of about 200 000 people.

Residents reported on Monday that the rebels had taken the military barracks in Bama, but the military said they had fought off the attackers.

Senator Ndume said that was why the air force bungled a bombing raid on Tuesday on the barracks, killing an unknown number of soldiers and civilians who had taken shelter there.

Boko Haram has declared an Islamic caliphate in overrun villages in eastern Borno. The group attracted international criticism for its mass kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls who remain captive.

Boko Haram wants to enforce an Islamic state in all of Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation of some 170 million people divided almost equally between a predominantly Muslim north and mainly Christian south.

The Nigerian government's military-focused campaign against the Islamic militants has failed and its international allies should try to help Nigeria focus on another strategy, said a report released on Tuesday by Chatham House, a British institute for international relations.

"The failure of emergency rule to contain and impede Boko Haram violence clearly shows that the military option with an absolute focus on the violent destruction of Boko Haram is not tenable and an alternative must be sought", said the report.

A military state of emergency imposed in May 2013 has alienated ordinary Nigerians while demoralising and discrediting the armed forces that are accused of gross human rights abuses, said the report.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.