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Old 09-18-2013, 11:46 PM
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Default 150 Boke Haram Islamist's die in nigerian attack

THE AUSTRALIAN

Thursday, 19th September, 2013


150 Islamists die in Nigerian attack

  • From: AFP
  • September 19, 2013 12:00AM

A MILITARY strike on a Boko Haram camp in Nigeria's restive northeast last week left about 150 Islamists and 16 soldiers dead, apparently in retaliation for earlier attacks that killed dozens of troops.



The army said yesterday it had launched an offensive against the Islamist insurgents on September 12, after local media reported Boko Haram had ambushed a group of soldiers in the same area, killing 40 and leaving dozens of others missing.

Military officials were not available to comment on the reported Boko Haram ambush, speaking only about the purported military strike. Details of the strike had not been previously made public.

"It was a highly fortified insurgent camp with heavy weapons in (northeastern) Borno state," army spokesman Ibrahim Attahiru said. "The army raided the camp on September 12. About 150 Boko Haram terrorists were killed, while the military lost 16 soldiers. Nine soldiers are still missing.
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The forest where the alleged raid occurred is 70km northeast of Borno's capital Maiduguri, the city where Boko Haram was founded more than a decade ago.

There has been speculation that Boko Haram had strengthened its presence in the remote area in recent months.

Borno was placed under a state of emergency in mid-May, when the military shut down the mobile phone network to block Islamists from co-ordinating attacks amid an operation aimed at crushing the insurgency.
With the communication network switched off, details of attacks have been slow to emerge and difficult to verify. Residents, victims and local political leaders have been largely unreachable, with military statements forming the main source of information.

There are indications that Boko Haram attacks, which were previously carried out across northern Nigeria, have been partly contained in the northeast, especially Borno state, the group's historic stronghold. If confirmed, however, Boko Haram's reported ambush on the military would cast doubt on claims that the insurgents' capacity to attack has been curbed.

According to local media, the alleged Boko Haram ambush happened in the northeastern corner of Borno state, towards the border with Chad.

The widely read Punch newspaper, citing a high-ranking military source, said the military failed to send aerial support for the soldiers who were ambushed.

Since the offensive was launched, Boko Haram has been blamed for massacres that left dozens of students dead, as well as the mass killing of Muslims gathering for morning prayers.

Boko Haram has said it is fighting to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, but its aims have shifted and the group is believed to consist of different factions.

Last edited by WABA; 09-18-2013 at 11:50 PM..
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