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Panic as people flee to escape dangerous Boko Haram fighters

The Cameroon army has killed more than 100 Boko Haram fighters, their government said.

PANICKED RESIDENTS FLED their homes in northeast Nigeria today in fear of Boko Haram attacks while the military sought to recapture ground lost to the militants in recent weeks.

The Cameroon army has killed more than 100 Boko Haram fighters, its government said this evening.

Mass exodus

Nigeria Violence Source: AP/Press Association Images

The exodus from Mubi, the commercial hub of Adamawa state, began on Sunday after the insurgents seized Michika 42 kilometres away the day before, heightening fears of an impending strike.

Nigeria’s military is under increasing pressure to stop Boko Haram, which has seized control of a number of towns in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states in recent weeks, prompting fears the government could soon lose control of the region.

Taking cover

On Monday, residents living near the airforce base in the Adamawa state capital, Yola, reported seeing an increase in sorties of military aircraft in the last few days. But residents in Michika said airforce jets seen circling overhead were unable to bomb the insurgents because they had taken cover in civilian houses.

Nigeria’s military on Friday tried to retake Madagali, which fell into rebel hands last month, forcing troops to withdraw to Gulak, then to Mubi itself.

Nigeria Violence Source: AP/Press Association Images

The fear of attack was heightened after the families of police officers in the town were ordered to evacuate and seen leaving, said resident Muhammad Maishanu.

Mubi, which has previously been targeted by Boko Haram, had already seen an influx of thousands of residents escaping violence in Michika, Madagali, Gulak and several other villages near the border with Borno.

Locals have thronged the main bus depot in the town to catch taxis and commuter buses out of the town for the last few days, said Samaila Ado, who works at the coach station.

Conflicting claims

Nigeria Violence Source: AP/Press Association Images

Many residents headed for Yola 145 kilometres away as well as the northern states of Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi and Kano, Ado added.

The spokesman of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, Gideon Obasogie, said he fled the town on Sunday. “Thousands of others have also left Mubi for Yola for fear of attack. The Boko Haram militants are just capturing everywhere,” he told AFP.

The Catholic church in Maiduguri diocese is gradually crumbling. A priest in Michika had to scale a fence yesterday to avoid being killed… He had to pass through some bush and mountains before he finally made it to Yola.

Security fears prompted the indefinite closure of the Adamawa State University in Mubi, according to a university statement.

- © AFP, 2014

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