Chibok, Nigeria, still under Boko Haram siege, local leader says

Rebels are routinely burning communities and stealing food and livestock, local leader Yaga Yarkawa said.
By Ed Adamczyk  |  Nov. 22, 2016 at 11:55 AM
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CHIBOK , Nigeria, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Chibok, Nigeria is still under siege by Boko Haram insurgents, despite the release of 21 of the school girls abducted in 2014, residents said.

Chibok, a local government area of towns in northern Borno state with about 66,000 people, has seen an upsurge in incidents of rampaging Boko Haram militants, with communities attacked and burned, livestock stolen, and food looted. Residents are concerned that ongoing talks between the government and the insurgent group, to release the 196 school girls still in captivity, will lead nowhere, the Nigerian newspaper Premium Times reported Tuesday.

"Chibok is now under Boko Haram siege," said Yaga Yarkawa, chairman of the Chibok government area. "Contrary to claims by government and security operatives, Chibok is not safe. There has been series of renewed attacks on our communities. As I am talking to you now, the villages of Kuburmbula, Tsilari, Kamdzilari, Kuburnvwu, Kautikari, Kwada, Buftari and Kakulmari have all been attacked, and burnt down completely in the past weeks. The Boko Haram terrorists have been on the move, destroying every community they enter."

Yarkawa called on Nigerian government troops to re-enter the Chibok area, and coordinate with local militia groups to end the attacks.

Although a concerted effort by Nigeria and neighboring countries to eradicate Boko Haram remains in force, more than 100,000 refugees have left areas surrounding Lake Chad, where the borders of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon meet. About 1 million people remain cut off from humanitarian aid. Boko Haram controls parts of the lake shore, as well as part of its fishing industry, and is the location where hundreds of Boko Haram forces have recently surrendered. Some of those displaced have relocated a second time to avoid additional Boko Haram attacks; two attacks were reported in October, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Boko Haram, despite being removed in 2014 from large amounts of territory it controlled in Nigeria, still is able to launch attacks. About 15,000 people have been killed, and 2.6 million displaced, in their seven-year uprising to establish an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria.

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