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Military says NE town retaken from Boko Haram

31 January 2015, 08:59

Abuja - The military on Friday said it had retaken the northeast town of Michika from Boko Haram after weeks of unrest that reportedly killed dozens of people and forced thousands to flee.

The Islamist insurgents were thought to have controlled the town for several months, while local officials and relief workers said the area had seen a spike in Boko Haram attacks over the past two weeks.

But the military said it was now in control of Michika and was conducting "an extensive mopping up operation," after "troops sacked the terrorists who have been operating in the town and it's environ."

Some soldiers suffered injuries in the operation, defence spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement, adding: "Normalcy has been restored."

A local lawmaker had previously said that more than 70 percent of the population had fled the town, some seeking refuge in the surrounding mountains.

Military accounts of offensives against Boko Haram have in the past not been consistent with witness reports and it was not immediately possible to reach locals around Michika.

Also read: Fighter jets jobs bomb town held by Boko Haram

Retaking Michika from Boko Haram, which controls large swathes of territory across the northeast, would mark a success for the military, which has been fiercely criticised for its handling of the six-year Islamist uprising.

The defence spokesman also said the military had suffered losses in operations against Boko Haram in Borno state, where Nigerian troops are reportedly trying to reclaim more lost territory.

"Nigerian officers... are in the process of accounting for their actions leading to the loss of weapons (and) men," in northern Borno, Olukolade said, providing no further specifics.

There were unconfirmed reports on Thursday that Chadian fighter jets and ground forces were operating in the area as part of a new cooperation with Nigeria to contain the insurgency.

The conflict has killed more than 13,000 people since 2009.


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