Boko Haram Monday added to the territory it controls in Nigeria’s northeast, as it overran the town of Maiha in Adamawa State.
Two of the captured towns had earlier been renamed by the terrorists. Mubi, in Adamawa was renamed ‘Madinatul Islam’, meaning the “City of Islam,” after an October 29 invasion, while Gwoza in Borno was renamed “Darul Hikma” meaning “House of Wisdom”.
Although several residents have deserted the town due to its closeness to captured Mubi; Maiha is about 25 kilometres from Mubi; the insurgents took over the town regardless, expanding its captured territory.
Reports quote residents as claiming that they saw many soldiers fleeing Maiha as the insurgents stormed the town, as any of them caught by insurgents would have been killed.
“The insurgents started trooping into the town around 2:30 p.m. and engaged troops stationed at Kosha before advancing to the main town of Maiha. The soldiers, who advanced to the area in their bid to recapture Mubi, started running away as the insurgents overran the entire town,” a fleeing resident, Kabir Musa told online news medium, Premium Times in a telephone interview.
Vanguard quoted another resident of the town, Garba Baba, as saying that some fleeing soldiers begged him to assist them with civilian clothes so they would not be traced by the insurgents. He said the soldiers even threw their guns into the bush.
“The fleeing soldiers asked us to give them our clothes so that they can camouflage and escape from the area safely as some of them discarded their weapons in the bush. A lot of discarded weapons are currently lying in the bush,” said Baba.
He said the Nigerian troops did not resist the Boko Haram insurgents.
“The insurgents did not encounter any challenge as they stormed the town in APCs and Toyota Hilux vans, firing shots into the soldiers’ directions , and chanting Allahu Akbar. The Boko Haram insurgents had ordered us not to run, saying that they were not after civilians but soldiers and other security people,” he said.
The insurgents were said to have hoisted their flags at strategic points in the town.
The military had claimed to be making progress in its onslaught to recapture the towns taken by Boko Haram, but had just complained that the terrorists’ tactics of using women and children as human shield had slowed them down in the operation. It remains to be seen how the military turns around the situation and save the territorial integrity of Nigeria.