…Borno State Gov calls emergency security meeting
Boko Haram insurgents have sacked two military bases in northeast Nigeria overnight as the jihadist fighters battle for control of a strategic town on Lake Chad, military sources said Thursday.
Jihadists from the IS-supported Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) overran a naval base and a multinational joint task force (MNJTF) post in the fishing town of Baga after a fierce battle, the sources told AFP.
In the meantime, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima has called an emergency extraordinary security meeting in Maiduguri.
Boko Haram has repeatedly struck military outposts in the region in recent months. Fighters in several vehicles stormed Baga and engaged troops in intense fighting at the MNJTF base which hosts units from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
The insurgents also sacked a naval base in Mile 3 which lies five kilometres from Baga, a military source who asked not to be identified told AFP.
“The troops were overpowered and forced to withdraw,” the source, adding that “the terrorists carted away guntrucks, ammunition and multiple rocket launchers from the base.”
Troops from the two bases withdrew to another naval base at Fish Dam on the shores of Lake Chad, the military source said. That base was well secured, and resisted several attempts by Boko Haram fighters to overrun it, the source added.
The jihadists then retreated and the troops decided not to pursue them to avoid running into an ambush, a strategy Boko Haram often employs against the military, the officer said.
Nigerian army spokesman Sani Usman confirmed the attack in a statement which said the assault began at about 7:00 pm local time (1800 GMT).
“The troops along with their Nigerian Navy counterparts put up a very determined fight” all night, he said, adding that one navy personnel was killed.
Troop reinforcements were in pursuit of the Boko Haram fighters, he said. Residents of the regional capital Maiduguri reported seeing six fighter jets flying towards Baga on Thursday.
Meanwhlie, Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has called an emergency security meeting
The meeting is scheduled for Monday and expected at the meeting are heads of security establishments, leadership of the Civilian JTF and hunters, traditional rulers, Borno elders, the three Senators and 10 members of House of Representatives representing the state at the National Assembly, the 28 members of the State House of Assembly, selected chairmen and commissioners from local government areas affected by recent attacks, leadership of the University of Maiduguri and selected tertiary institutions, chairmen of the state chapters of the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, National Council of Women Societies and the Nigerian Legion.
The governor, in a statement on Friday by his spokesman, Isa Gusau, said the meeting would be held at 4pm at the Government House in Maiduguri.
The statement revealed that “during the meeting, participants will review the situation in view of recent developments, make suggestions and come up with a resolution that will in writing be delivered to President Buhari by a delegation, as soon as possible while the state government and other institutions that may be concerned by some aspects of the resolutions, will take necessary and immediate actions.”
The statement read that, “In the meantime, Governor Kashim Shettima has continually approved government measures to support the fight against the insurgents and to contain humanitarian needs of fellow citizens who are unfortunately affected by recent attacks.
It said the governor commiserates with all victims and assured the people of the state that his administration is employing every available means to complement the efforts of the federal government.
The statement recalled that Governor Kashim Shettima has on different occasions, including in recent weeks, met with President Muhammadu Buhari and other security stakeholders over matters of security in Borno State and the President has regularly showed “his empathy, commitment and determination to end the Boko Haram crisis in order to create enabling environment for the aggressive rebuilding of destroyed communities, rehabilitation and resettlement of victims which the Borno government has been carrying since 2015.”
It added that “thousands of displaced victims from 14 local government areas were, without compulsion, returned to safe and rebuilt communities in which all key public services like water installations, hospitals, schools and livelihoods were restored.”