Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Boko Haram 'Taking Over Northern Borno State'

Many local governments areas in northern Borno and other parts of the state are gradually coming under the control of members of the Jama'atu Ahlis Sunnah Lid Da'awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, Weekly Trust heard yesterday.

The northern part of Borno shares international borders with Cameroon, Niger and Chad republics and comprises Marte, Magumeri, Mobbar, Gubio, Guzamala, Abadam, Kukawa, Kaga, Nganzai and Monguno Local Government Areas.

Weekly Trust reports that very few attacks take place in Damboa, Chibok, Biu and Gwoza Local Government Areas in the southern part of the state while Hawul, Bayo, Kwaya Kusar, Askira/Uba and Shani have remained relatively peaceful.

Most government officials and civil servants had fled most of these areas except Damasak. Bama and some parts of Konduga Local Government Area, both in the central part of the state, are also coming under the control of the sect members who had chased away government officials and civil servants, it was learnt.

The source alleged that the JTF, which has received over 200 new patrol hilux vans, in addition to the fuelling of its vehicles and allowances for its soldiers, have largely remained more active in central parts of the state. When contacted last night, officials of the Borno State Government referred our reporter to the Joint Military task Force (JTF). However, several attempts to speak with the spokesman of the JTF Lt Col Sagir Musa were not successful as calls placed to his mobile phone failed to go through.

Weekly Trust also learnt that in Marte Local Government, the sect members control most villages and openly organize public preaching in village market in Krenuwa, the hometown of the current Secretary to the State Government Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda, who is a member of the Presidential Amnesty Committee.

It was also learnt that the sect members are acquiring so many vehicles, in military colours and mounting guns on them. Three brand new hilux vans belonging to the Chad Basin were also reportedly snatched by gunmen.

Weekly Trust gathered that members of the Agricultural Transformation team set up by the Borno State Governor has been chased out of Marte by insurgents, abandoning harvest of wheat in 5,000 hectares of irrigation land, revived and funded by the state through collaboration between the Borno State Government and the Federal Government-owned Chad Basin Development Authority. The farm has over 60,000 hectares of unused irrigation land in Marte.

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