Just after a military base was sacked and occupied by Boko Haram terrorists, a Borno town has been captured by the insurgents.
While the Nigerian army claimed that the Islamist militants were severely weakened to the point of defeat, it was gathered that eight civilians were believed to have been killed, according to one local civilian militia member who spoke to AFP.
The attack is reportedly the latest against troops in recent weeks, and comes as the government encourages the return of displaced people from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, to Guzamala despite continued attacks.
An official of Guzamala local government area, of which Gudumbali is the headquarters, told AFP:
“It is true Boko Haram have taken over Gudumbali this morning after pushing troops out of the military facility in the town.
“They are in full control of the town and the military facility,” the official said, speaking from Maiduguri on anonymity for fear of government sanction.
A military source in Maiduguri added:
“The terrorists attacked the base at about 7:50 pm (1850 GMT) and engaged soldiers in an intense battle that continued until early Saturday when troops were forced to withdraw.”
The source, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said he had no information about casualties. But local civilian militia member Musa Ari said:
“Most civilians were spared because the attack was targeted at the military base.
“So far eight civilians who were errand boys for troops were believed to have been killed in the attack.”
President Buhari had before now, repeatedly claimed that Boko Haram has been defeated and can no longer capture towns like they did years ago. It should also be recalled that Boko Haram captured Borno town, Gudumbali, in 2014 when swathes of territory were seized in northern Borno and declared their Islamic Caliphate. The military reclaimed the town two years later in a regional fightback involving troops from neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.