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Nigerian army retakes Boko Haram's key NE stronghold

'Several militants' have been killed in the gunbattle, according to military

Rafiu Oriyomi Ajakaye   | 21.09.2016
Nigerian army retakes Boko Haram's key NE stronghold

Lagos

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria

Troops have retaken a remote northeastern town along Nigeria’s border with Niger from Boko Haram militants, a military spokesman announced Wednesday.

According to army spokesman Sani Usman, Mallam Fatori -- which was one of the last few towns still held by the militants -- was now under full control of the military.

"Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole [a local Hausa phrase that roughly means 'peace by all means necessary'] and Multinational Joint Task Force have captured Mallam Fatori in northernmost part of Borno state after a fierce battle closely covered by air operations," Usman said in a statement.

He said “several militants” had been killed during the gunbattle.

"The troops killed several of the Boko Haram terrorists in the resulting encounter and subsequently had to withdraw to a vantage position," according to the statement.

Usman's statement about liberating Mallam Fatori conflicted with the army's oft-stated claim that the Boko Haram no longer held any territory in the region. Anadolu Agency understands that militants still maintain some presence in a few places near the country's border with Niger and Chad.

The insurgency has claimed tens of thousands of lives, brought communities to ruin as well as displaced over two million people, resulting in devastating humanitarian crisis that both Nigeria and various relief agencies are battling to address.

As army liberates more towns and people trapped by the insurgents, the country is back to having new polio cases from children recently brought back from areas not hitherto accessible to vaccinators. At least three new cases have been discovered, ruining the country's march to polio-free status next year July.

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