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Boko Haram seizes Chibok, hometown of kidnapped schoolgirls
« on: November 15, 2014, 01:52:14 PM »

Boko Haram has seized the town of Chibok in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, from where 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped more than six months ago, a local pastor and a senator told AFP on Friday.

"Chibok was taken by Boko Haram. They are in control," said Enoch Mark, a Christian pastor whose daughter and niece are among the 219 teenagers still being held.

Mark and the senator for southern Borno, Ali Ndume, said the militants attacked at about 4:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Thursday, destroying communications masts and forcing residents to flee.

Meanwhile, Nigeria said Friday that three servicemen were killed in a military helicopter crash in the restive northeast, while Boko Haram rebels raided two more towns and vigilantes and hunters clawed back a key militant stronghold.

The second crash in a week happened late on Thursday in Yola, the capital of Adamawa, which is one of three states that has been under emergency rule since May last year.

The military said the aircraft involved was a ground attack helicopter on an armed patrol.
"The crew of three was lost in the ill-fated accident," a statement said, adding that an investigation will be carried out.

There was no immediate indication that the armed Islamist movement was responsible for the crash, though there has been an increase in Boko Haram activity in the state in recent weeks.

Boko Haram has reportedly taken over more than two dozen towns in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, including the commercial hub of Mubi, some 200 kilometers from Yola.

Last week, the extremists, who have been waging a five-year insurgency to create a hardline Islamic state, renamed Mubi "Madinatul Islam" or "City of Islam" in Arabic, residents said.

Nigeria's chief of army staff, Major General Kenneth Minimah, told a Senate defense committee on Thursday that the loss of territory was "painful" but promised that troops would recapture lost ground.

Locals and a government official said later that about 200 vigilantes and hunters armed with home-made guns, spears, clubs, bows and arrows, and machetes took back Mubi.

"It is true Mubi has fallen back into the hands of Nigerian soldiers with the help of local vigilantes and hunters," Chibado Bobi, chief of staff in the Adamawa state governor's office, told AFP.

"It is however too early for residents who fled to move back to Mubi because the security and vigilantes need to mop up all remnants of the group that may be lurking in nearby areas."

Boko Haram had introduced its strict version of Islamic law in the town, including amputations for accused thieves, according to residents who fled.


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