By Kede Aihie (Editor in Chief)
Nigeria’s military says it has captured Gwoza in Borno State from Boko Haram on Friday, driving the Islamist insurgents out of one of their last remaining strongholds in the northe region of Nigeria.
Nigeria’s military spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade described the recaptured town as “the headquarters of the terrorists’ self-styled caliphate” in an e-mailed statement. The military said the security forces killed “several terrorists,” captured “many more” and were “mopping up” in the town.
“The military has been able to take over virtually all the enclaves and hideouts where the terrorists were marauding,” Olukolade said. “It is observed that some of the terrorists are currently fleeing towards border areas.”
Chad and Niger troops have joined Nigerian troops in regional collaboration to intensify the campaign against Boko Haram before presidential and national assembly elections tomorrow.
The militants have killed at least 1,000 civilians this year, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch, and prompted a six-week vote delay after the military said it needed time to subdue the insurgents.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan thanked troops for their “immense sacrifices” and for recapturing “most of the communities and territories formerly occupied” by Boko Haram in a national broadcast Friday.
The military said the security forces killed “several terrorists,” captured “many more” and were “mopping up” in the town, about 716 kilometers (445 miles) north of Abuja, the capital.