According to new reports, Boko Haram gunmen have seized a military base in northeastern Nigeria, following a number of deadly raids this weekend.
According to a report from the BBC News website, Islamist gunmen fought the army for several hours before taking control of the military base outside the town of Baga, near Lake Chad, on Saturday.
As a result of the fighting, locals were reportedly forced to flee across the border to Chad after groups of Boko Haram militants carried out several raids, killing people as well as burning hundreds of homes and looting businesses.
The seized base is used by the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), which was established in 1998 to battle cross-border crime, but ended up fighting the deadly Boko Haram militants.
Local resident Usman Dansubdu said after fleeing to Chad, “They (the militants) overwhelmed the troops and forced them to abandon the base which the gunmen took over.”
At the same time, the senator representing northern Borno where Baga is located, Maina Ma’aji Lawan, told reporters, “Boko Haram insurgents launched attacks in Baga area yesterday, destroying six towns and several settlements, forcing the people in the affected places to flee into Chad. They came in unbelievably large numbers and overpowered the multinational troops and local vigilantes. They took over the multinational troop base in Baga and sent the soldiers fleeing.”
As well as overrunning the government base, according to CNN, Boko Haram gunmen on Saturday also raided the town of Babban Gida, 30 miles from Damaturu, the capital of neighboring Yobe state, according to residents.
The gunmen reportedly destroyed military barracks, torched a deserted government boarding school, and burned a local administration building, after overpowering soldiers in a gunfight.
It remains to be seen what can be done in the fight against the Boko Haram threat in Africa, as militant Islam extends its reach further and further afield.