Islamic fighters besiege Nigerian city: Senator

Maiduguri - Thousands of Nigerians are fleeing a northeastern city amid conflicting reports that it has been seized by Boko Haram Islamic extremists, a federal senator said on Tuesday.

The military claims to have repelled the insurgents in fierce fighting but the stream of refugees from the city indicates otherwise, said Senator Ali Ndume, who is from Borno state.

It would be a major victory for the militants if Boko Haram wins control of Bama, the second largest city in Borno state.

That would leave the way open to attack the Borno state capital of Maiduguri that is also the military headquarters of the fight against Boko Haram. Ndume said Bama is 75km from Maiduguri and has a population of about 200 000 people.

Residents reported on Monday that the rebels had taken the military barracks in Bama, but the military said they had fought off the attackers.

Senator Ndume said that was why the air force bungled a bombing raid on Tuesday on the barracks, killing an unknown number of soldiers and civilians who had taken shelter there.

Boko Haram has declared an Islamic caliphate in overrun villages in eastern Borno. The group attracted international criticism for its mass kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls who remain captive.

Boko Haram wants to enforce an Islamic state in all of Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation of some 170 million people divided almost equally between a predominantly Muslim north and mainly Christian south.

The Nigerian government's military-focused campaign against the Islamic militants has failed and its international allies should try to help Nigeria focus on another strategy, said a report released on Tuesday by Chatham House, a British institute for international relations.

"The failure of emergency rule to contain and impede Boko Haram violence clearly shows that the military option with an absolute focus on the violent destruction of Boko Haram is not tenable and an alternative must be sought", said the report.

A military state of emergency imposed in May 2013 has alienated ordinary Nigerians while demoralising and discrediting the armed forces that are accused of gross human rights abuses, said the report.

- AP
Cynical Heathen 2014-09-03 11:34:40 AM
Yaaaay islam
Web Perfect 2014-09-03 12:31:46 PM
When will this Islamist savagery stop? It would appear only once the entire planet falls under their sick Islamic ways. The only dignity that these murderous Islamists can be given is death. Hopefully the world will now realise that the annihilation of all Islamist movements like Shabaab, Isis, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah etc etc must begin in earnest. The world must stand up and unite and also give a warning that all those that support or side with such organisations whether in thought, word or deed are directly or indirectly terrorists themselves and that all clear thinking and fair peace loving people and goverments around the world must expose and get rid of them without mercy. Only then can we have true peace on earth.
SunshinyDay 2014-09-03 12:44:06 PM
Soon Boko Haram will have seized the whole of Nigeria, because the government and army have been too useless to do anything about them.
Steven Swart 2014-09-03 01:21:54 PM
Nigeria ripe for the taking it seems.
Mkpang Mike Thomas 2014-09-03 01:33:26 PM
senator Ndume is a boko haram member.....he has been arrested before....a suspect was caught and his name was why all the bla bla bla