Militants force thousands to flee

2013-06-22 20:22

Nigeria - Islamic extremists threatening a bloodbath forced thousands of people from villages along Nigeria's northeast, where refugees said Saturday the fighters have regrouped following a month long military crackdown.

People who escaped the bush near Nigeria's border with Cameroon fled to the Borno state capital of Maiduguri said militants from the Boko Haram terrorist network also have written letters warning government workers to resign their jobs or face death. Other villagers left for Cameroon.

"They warned government officials and civil servants in Bama to resign or else face death in the next seven days. We are all scared, this could be more deadly, so we ran for our dear lives," said Abba Fannami who fled to Maidguri with six family members.

A police officer said Boko Haram fighters were ransacking homes in neighbouring Gwoza district, forcing residents to hide in caves in the rocky hills.

Soldiers and police on bombing raids with jet fighters and helicopter gunships have dislodged the insurgents from camps in a game reserve. But the refugees confirmed reports that the fighters have regrouped in the mountains and rocky hills of Gwoza and Bama districts.

In recent days the extremists - whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" - have targeted schools, killing 16 high school students and two teachers in two attacks.

The militants also have attacked primary schools, burning down at least 50 in the past year, according to Borno state commissioner for primary education, Tijjani Abba Ali.

In a separate operation in Kano state, west of Borno, police said they rounded up 400 migrants on Saturday and are deporting those who do not have the necessary documents.

"This is a mop up exercise of illegal immigrants to complement what the Federal Government is doing in the states currently under the emergency rule," Kano state controller Hamisu Maishanu told reporters.

By late Saturday morning, he said screening of those detained had revealed some 150 people from the neighbouring country of Niger who did not have the right documents.

Kano state is not in a state of emergency. The emergency covers the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, an area encompassing 155 000 square kilometres.

The emergency and a military and police crackdown since May 14 has failed to crush the extremists blamed for the killings of more than 1,600 people since 2010. Boko Haram and splinter groups want to create an Islamic state in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and the continent's biggest oil producer.

  • Sifiso Sosibo - 2013-06-22 20:54

    WOW!!! Nigerian government CAN deport illegal immigrants from their country BUT are quick to cry wolf IF we deport criminals of foreign descent when they commit crime in our country which makes me arrive to the conclusion that their criminal activities's back by Nigerian state!

      Sipho Mathebula - 2013-06-22 21:04

      Like a thief in the night the. Muslims will work themselves into countries all overr the world. And then demand their rights and the idiots in the name of political correctness will give in to these demands, and then before you know it, and the the Muslims will oust the original imhabitants. Please people wake and see what is happening. The muslims what you the infidel DEAD. They kill in the name of Allah.

      Promise Udah - 2013-06-23 09:08

      desperate situations call for desperate action,President Jonathan has employed a lot of diplomacy in handling this situation,i think any action He is taking now to solve this problem should not be questioned. The illegal immigrant are been sent out due to the crises at hand so i don't think anybody should have a problem with that.

  • Mike Swart - 2013-06-22 21:04


  • Greg Page - 2013-06-23 08:03

    pray tell, why is News24 covering this? it has absolutely NOTHING to do with us! if they want to kill themselves, by all means let them!

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