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13:23, 27 June 2017 Tuesday
Update: 23:22, 04 November 2014 Tuesday

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Boko Haram controls 1/3 of Nigeria's Borno, capture town in Yobe
Boko Haram controls 1/3 of Nigeria's Borno, capture town in Yobe

Borno Governor Shettima said at least 8 of the 27 local government areas have been captured by Boko Haram

World Bulletin/News Desk

At least eight of the 27 local government areas in Nigeria's northeastern Borno State have been captured by Boko Haram militants, State Governor Kashim Shettima has said.

"The insurgents have taken over nearly eight local government areas in the state," Shettima told a visiting relief committee dispatched by the central government.

"They have taken over Gamboru-Ngala, Kala-Balge, Marte, Dikwa, Gwoza, Bama, Askira-Uba and parts of the Konduga local government areas," said the governor.

He added that the insurgents had also carried out recent attacks in Abadam and Kukawa.

Borno Deputy Governor Anna Mustapha had warned one day earlier that the entire northeastern region may soon fall into Boko Haram's hands.

"If the federal government will not make extra efforts, in the next three months, the three north-east states will not be in existence," he warned.

Assistance

Retired Air Marshal Jonah Wuyep, who heads a government subcommittee on data collection, said efforts were being made to address longstanding humanitarian challenges.

"Borno alone cannot handle the problems of internally displaced persons (IDPs) because lots of things need to be done," he said.

Wuyep said the federal government would step in to provide support for the country's IDPs.

"The sub-committee was set up to gather data on the number of IDPs and infrastructure that was destroyed for the government to intervene," he explained.

"The president is worried about the plight of the IDPs – that's why the victim support fund was inaugurated," added Wuyep

The sub-committee is affiliated with the Terrorism Victims Support Fund, which was recently launched by the Nigerian government to ameliorate the suffering of terror victims in the country's northern region and elsewhere.

Yobe fighting

Meanwhile, suspected Boko Haram militants on Tuesday reportedly captured another town in Nigeria's northeastern Yobe state, a police source has said.

Militants stormed Ngalda, a remote community in Yobe State, in a convoy of three Hilux vehicles but were engaged by military troops on ground, the source said.

"The insurgents exchanged fire with soldiers in Ngalda around the Gujba axis and they (militants) fled to another neighboring community, Nafada in Gombe, where they burned down the police station and the office of the People Democratic Party (PDP)," the source said.

According to the source, the militants captured the Nafada community.

There was no word yet available about casualties.

Musa Wuyo, a resident of Ngalda who fled to Bajoga, another community around the area, said the militants were shooting sporadically as they stormed the town.

"We were seated under a Nime tree close to a mosque at about 3.20pm when we started hearing gunshots. We were scared and many people fled into the bush, some of the soldiers also left," he told AA.

Tuesday's attack came a day after at least 82 people were killed when a sbomber attacked a crowd of Shiites gathered for the yearly Ashura procession at a school in Potiskum town in the northeastern Yobe State.

The government announced last month that it had reached a cease-fire with Boko Haram that called for the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls abducted by the group in northeastern Borno in April.

The militant group on Friday denied government claims of reaching a cease-fire and mounted several daring attacks in the country's north, resulting in multiple deaths and the capture of several towns.



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.