by James Sambo
The Nigeran Army is in complete control of Bama, one of the major towns in Borno State which has been under attack fromthe Boko Haram Islamist group. The army has also halted the terrorist group’s advance towards Maiduguri, the Borno capital.
A senior government official told the Reuters news agency on Monday that troops have chased the Boko Haram out of Bama deploying warplanes and bombs.
“Bama has been recaptured by the soldiers and I can confirm to you Maiduguri is safe,” the official said.
A market trader from Bama, Babagana Modu, also confirmed to Reuters that soldiers were in control of the town, as government planes struck at Boko Haram positions in the surrounding area.
But a spokesman of the Boko Haram who identified himself as Abu Zinnira dismissed the claim that Bama had been retaken by Nigerian soldiers. He told reporters over the phone in Maiduguri that Bama still remained under the group’s control.
Zinnira also insisted that Michika and a significant part of Mubi in Adamawa State, North Eastern Nigeria remained under the control of the sect as the militants continue to fight to consolidate and expand its hold on villages and towns under its command.
“This is a rebuttal from the information dissemination and sensitization unit of the Jama’atul Ahlil Sunna Lidawati Wal Jihad (Boko Haram) on the series of lies that the Nigeria military have been feeding the world on our recent conquests.
“Let the whole world know that we are on the path of victory because up to this minute, the town of Bama is under our control, the whole of Michika is now in our hands, as well as Manalapan (Junction of) Mubi is now fully under our control.
“We are assuring the world that this would be continuous and there will be no going back by God’s grace,” the sect’s spokesman said during the call from a restricted phone number.
Military repels attack in another Borno town
Meanwhile, no fewer than 20 Boko Haram gunmen have been killed as the military repelled a siege by the insurgents on the residence of in Buratai, 200 kilometres south of Maiduguri. An eyewitness, Mallam Idi Buratai, said that the insurgents attacked the Buratai Central Primary School, the only primary school in the hometown of the former Commander, Niger-Delta Special Task Force, Major General Tukur Buratai.
The militants came from Buni-Yadi, a town in Yobe State currently under their control, first attacked and burned mobile network masts in the town. Buratai, said that the over 50 Boko Haram gunmen then proceeded to attack the residence of General Buratai and Buratai Primary school which they succeeded in burning.
But they were subdued by the superior gunfire of the military at the residence of General Buratai as over 20 of them were killed while the others fled in different directions.
“The soldiers guarding the residence of the former Task Force Commander in collaboration with their colleagues from Biu Military Barrack and some members of vigilante group repelled the attackers killing over 20 members of the sect,” Buratai said.
The District Head of Buratai, Alhaji Maina Garga, confirmed the incident, saying the insurgents lost many of their foot soldiers as soldiers repelled the attack on the Commander’s residence. He added that three soldiers were injured in the exchange of gunfire.