Friday, January 9, 2015 8:52 pm
Nigerian forces backed by air strikes are fighting to reclaim the northeastern town of Baga from Islamist militant group Boko Haram which seized the town and a nearby military base at the weekend, a government spokesman said on Friday.
“Since the first attack last weekend on Baga, security forces have been actively pursuing the militants,” Mike Omeri said in a statement.
“Security forces have responded rapidly, and have deployed significant military assets and conducted air strikes.”
At least 100 people were killed during the attack on Baga last weekend, according to the district head.
Witnesses who escaped to neighbouring towns and Borno state capital Maiduguri said the insurgents had razed many buildings and homes and killed dozens in subsequent raids on civilians this week.
Soldiers had fled the area after the nearby army base, which is the headquarters of a multinational force comprising troops from Chad, Niger and Cameroon, by Lake Chad was overrun.
Boko Haram has been waging a five-year insurgency to carve out an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria.
Omeri said the government’s National Emergency Management Agency, working with the Red Cross, was providing humanitarian assistance to 2,000 internally displaced people from Baga.About 2,000 also crossed the border to Chad over the last week, prompting the country to call for international aid. Cameroon has also appealed for aid to help fight the militants.