Militant group Boko Haram has seized the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok, the home of more than 200 schoolgirls the group kidnapped earlier this year.
Pogo Bitrus, chairman of the Chibok elders’ forum, told VOA that militants attacked the Borno state town late Thursday afternoon. He said locally-based soldiers and civilian fighters put up a fight but were outgunned by a large Boko Haram force that took control of the town.
Bitrus, spoke by phone from Abuja, said fighting continued overnight, added that a military contingent from the town of Damboa was headed to Chibok on Friday. “The fight, I believe, is not finished yet,” he said.
Boko Haram has seized a number of towns in Borno and Adamawa states this year for a “caliphate” proclaimed by the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau.
Nigerian security forces and vigilante groups have succeeded in retaking some areas, including the Adamawa town of Mubi, freed during a battle on Thursday.
Fighting has continued despite a cease-fire announced by the Nigerian government on October 17. Shekau said in a subsequent video that no cease-fire existed and also said the kidnapped schoolgirls had been converted to Islam and married off.
The kidnapping from a Chibok secondary school on April 14 made headlines and drew outrage from around the world. The Nigerian government has been unable to rescue the schoolgirls despite surveillance and intelligence help provided by the United States, Britain and other allies.