Boko Haram insurgents have invaded Chibok town in Nigeria’s north east state of Borno where over 200 girls were on April 14 kidnapped by the terrorists.
“Chibok was taken by Boko Haram. They are in control,” Vanguards quoted Enoch Mark, a Christian pastor whose daughter and niece are among the hostages being held, as saying.
“They came in and engaged soldiers and vigilantes in a gunfight,” he added.
“Some of us managed to escape. All the telecom towers in the town were destroyed during the attack with RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades),” he said.
“No-one can say what the situation is in the town in terms of destruction to property.”
Senator representing southern Borno, Ali Ndume also confirmed the invasion. According to him, the militants attacked at about 4:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Thursday, destroying communications masts and forcing residents to flee.
He added that fleeing residents have called to inform him that Chibok had been taken over by Boko Haram.
“There is no telephone service now in Chibok, which is why it took time before the reports reached me,” he added.
Boko Haram had earlier taken over Hong and Gombi in neighbouring Adamawa state after local hunters and vigilantes drove the insurgents from commercial town of Mubi.
Chairman of Chibok elders’ forum, Pogo Bitrus, also confirmed the attack but noted that the mode of attack suggests that the insurgents may have insiders in the community who have informed them about the security situation of the town.
“The vigilantes use shotguns and cartridges and have been short in supply, so the leader left yesterday for Maiduguri to procure more in the event of any attack,” he told reporters on phone from Abuja.
Bitrus however said the vigilantes were gearing up for a reprisal attack. The military authorities were also said to have deployed from Damboa.
“I can assure you they are going to retake Chibok,” he vowed.