Boko Haram, Islamist militants in Africa, took over a police training academy in Gwoza, Nigeria this Wednesday. At first, authorities were unable to confirm the take-over, because communication with the school went down. A small number of trainees escaped and confirmed the suspicions.
The Boko Haram militants arrived in several armored vehicles and on dozens of motorcycles. Shortly after, shots were heard and trainees were seen fleeing from the building.
Several hundred Boko Haram members were involved in the raid on the academy, which held approximately 290 trainees. The academy (Liman Kara college) is one of only two in Nigeria that offer riot training, so it’s likely that Boko Haram will find a great deal of weaponry within the building.
Due to lack of communication, any amount of casualties has been unconfirmed. Even the trainees that escaped were unable to state if any of their classmates had fallen. It’s safe to say that there’s a high possibility of a large death toll. Boko Haram is a terrorist group with a high kill count, since it began in 2009.
Recently, Boko Haram has been working to get out of rural areas and into more substantially populated towns. They are currently in control of Gwoza, and have been since the beginning of August. The town has an approximate population of 50,000 people.
Since they’ve been pushed out of Maiduguri, Boko Haram has escalated their attacks. Almost every day brings a new deadly raid on a town or village.
This was not the first time Boko Haram attempted to take over part of the Nigerian police force. There was a similar attack on the same training academy about two weeks ago that failed.
Security forces have been attempting to retake Gwoza, but have found no success. A group of about 40 soldiers has refused to continue fighting. They stated they’ve stopped because are not nearly well equipped enough take on Boko Haram.
It’s important to understand that Boko Haram is not invincible and they have had downfalls in the past.
Last week, after raiding a fishing village, the terrorist’s convoy was stopped in Chad for a routine check point. Just by doing what came naturally to their job, Chad soldiers were able to rescue roughly 85 captives from Boko Haram.
On the same note, they took Gwoza after being forced to retreat 62 miles once they lost control of Damboa, another large town in Borno.
[ Image courtesy of Nigeriana ]