Nigerian Troops Battle To Retake Gwoza As Boko Haram Kills 20, Kidnaps Women

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Nigerian troops have massed around Gwoza to retake the town from members of the Islamist group, Boko Haram, military sources have disclosed. The battle for control of Gwoza rages as reports emerged that Boko Haram insurgents today killed 20 people in Doro Baga in Kukawa local government area of Borno State. The residents of the embattled village also disclosed that the militants kidnapped several women in an early morning raid.

One military source in Abuja told SaharaReporters that the soldiers
on the mission to recapture the town were drafted from Maiduguri
and Mubi in Adamawa State. The officer added that special Army
and Air Force units had been pounding Boko Haram positions
since yesterday.

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“Over 1000 soldiers are involved in this operation to take Gwoza
back from Boko Haram,” said the officer, adding that the troop
commanders were confident of dislodging the insurgents in a
matter of hours or days.

A resident of Bama, which is 35 miles from Gwoza, told
SaharaReporters that he had observed a large contingent of troops
moving towards Gwoza in the last 24 hours. He also stated that he
had heard gunfire overnight.

Boko Haram insurgents overran Gwoza last week, killing at least
100 residents, including the wife of the town’s emir, his brother,
and the chief Imam of Gwoza.

Shortly after taking over Gwoza, Boko Haram militants repelled a
column of soldiers that came from Bama to chase them away,
inflicting a significant casualty on the troops. Two days later, a
group of soldiers from the 234 Battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel
Agu had to abandon Gwoza when Boko Haram fighters
overwhelmed them. In that battle, the Islamist militants captured
one military tank and its driver. They also burnt two other tanks.

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Some of the soldiers who spoke anonymously to SaharaReporters
said the lack of communication equipment inside the tanks was
responsible for the costly tactical errors in the earlier Gwoza
operation. “The front tank suddenly turned back when its
weaponry malfunctioned,” said one soldier. He added that, unable
to figure out the reason for the sudden turn around, the troops took
to their heels instead of positioning the three other tanks behind to
engage the militants.

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Officials at Nigeria’s Defense Headquarters in Abuja have declined
to speak officially about the latest battle, but a military source in
Abuja anonymously confirmed that the military had started waging
a wide range of operational activities aimed at driving Boko
Haram militants out of Gwoza.

Source: Sahara reporters