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Nigeria 'recaptures town from Boko Haram'

February 16, 2015

The Nigerian military claims have recaptured of a small town seized last month by Islamist group Boko Haram. Central African leaders have met in the Cameroonian capital for a summit on how to beat the militants.

Nigeria Soldaten
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo

Nigeria's military announced in a series of tweets on Monday, that it had retaken the towns of Mongono and Marte, vowing that it would push on to defeat the insurgents.

The claim comes after Nigeria promised to intensify its fight against the Islamist group, which seized the town on the shores of Lake Chad on January 25.

The army said that it had captured "a number of terrorists as well as truck loads of food and logistics meant for terrrorists operating around Baga."

"Troops in a military operation spearheaded by highly coordinated air assaults have completed the mission of clearing terrorists from Monguno and environs this morning," said defense spokesman Chris Olukolade in a statement.

The military also said that its efforts to clear the insurgents would be "agressive."

The loss of Monguno was viewed as a significant blow to the army, the town being close to the northern state of Borno's capital, Maiduguri - a prime objective for Boko Haram. Insurgents, who quickly overpowered troops based in the town, were able to seize weapons and take over a military base.

It was feared Monguno might be used as a launch pad for a new attack on Maiduguri, after Boko Haram launched an assault on February 1 that was successfully repelled.

The Nigerian military is believed to have exaggerated its military successes over Boko Haram in the past, but the recapture of Monguno would add to a growing list of victories.

Regional effort against group

Defense officials claim that cooperation with neighboring countries such as Cameroon, Chad and Niger has put Boko Haram on the defensive.

Despite this, the group has still been able to make its presence felt, with an assault on the town of Gombe, albeit failed, and a suicide bombing that killed 13 in the Yobe state capital, Damatru.

Leaders of six countries met in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, on Monday to discuss the fight against Boko Haram. However, since the meeting was held under the aegis of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Nigeria did not attend.

The aim of the talks was to come up with "an agreed solution" on the fight against the extremists, a source close to the government of Cameroon told the AFP news agency.

rc/msh (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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