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.
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.
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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