Militants capture hometown of Nigeria's defense chief

The militants seized control of the northeast Nigerian town of Mubi earlier, robbing banks, burning down houses, killing dozens of people and forcing thousands to flee, witnesses said.

Militants capture hometown of Nigeria's defense chief

World Bulletin/News Desk

Suspected Boko Haram militants have captured Vimtim, the hometown of Nigeria's defense chief Alex Badeh in Adamawa, following renewed violence in the northeastern state, locals said.

"Vimtim fell to the militants on Thursday after the insurgents finally captured Mubi," Yvonne Adamu, a local who has escaped to Yola, told Anadolu Agency on Friday.

"They went straight to the house of the defense chief and occupied it. But they are not harming anyone except those who attempted to run," she said.

Adamu, a primary schoolteacher, said the village was almost empty as many people have fled after hearing reports about the fall of Mubi, a town just about 15 kilometers away.

"Some of us ran away overnight on Wednesday when we learnt that they have finally taken over Mubi. Vimtim is just a few kilometers away and we knew that those people would want to attack Vimtim," she said.

"When they came as we had envisaged, they took over the house of General Badeh," Adamu said.

Joshua Ibim, another resident, confirmed the takeover of Vimtim.

"Our fear now is that our community could be ruined when soldiers finally come. We heard that the reason soldiers left Mubi was not because they feared the militants but to ensure fighter jets to conduct aerial bombing," Ibim told AA.

"We fear for our community and our elderly ones who are still trapped," Ibim added.

Ibim's comment correlated with the view of a policeman who told AA that aerial bombing of Mubi and nearby towns occupied by militants is anticipated.

"The reason the troops withdrew from Mubi and other posts is to allow the Air Force fighter jets to deal with the militants. We don't care whether they are the real Boko Haram or some other criminal elements," the police officer, a deputy superintendent, said.

The insurgents reportedly torched the health center and offices of an oil company working in the Lake Chad Basin, which has a proven oil deposit.

Car bomb

Meanwhile, a car bomb exploded at a crowded bus stop in the northeast Nigerian city of Gombe, killing at least 10 people and wounding several others near the end of the morning rush hour on Friday, a source in the emergency services said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. But Boko Haram has been blamed for a string of bomb attacks in trhe region this year. Gombe has rarely been attacked.

Witness Godfrey Anebo told Reuters he saw emergency workers pull eight people from the wreckage, all of whom appeared to be dead.

"I am not sure what the death toll will be at the end but it will shoot up very high because the bus stop was very full of commuters," Anebo said.

"It just happened, and our men and the security agencies are on the scene dealing with the fallout," an emergency services official told Reuters. The military was not immediately available for comment.

The surge in violence surprised many Nigerians, as it came only days after the federal government had announced a cease-fire with Boko Haram.

Badeh said two weeks ago that troops had been asked to halt counterinsurgency operations in line with the terms of the cease-fire.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Aminu Wali confirmed the cease-fire, saying negotiations were ongoing in neighboring Chad. Wali also exonerated Boko Haram from a spate of recent attacks and kidnappings.

But locals insist that nothing has changed on the ground as militants have ratcheted up their attacks, which have resulted in multiple deaths and mass displacement. 

Nigeria has battled Boko Haram for the past five years. Thousands have been killed and millions displaced by the violence, which has been largely confined to the country's volatile northeastern region.

 

Last Mod: 31 Ekim 2014, 15:46
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