Nigeria villagers repel insurgent attack, kill scores
By Rafiu Ajakaye, Wednesday, May 14, 2014
LAGOS – Residents of a village in Nigeria's northern Borno State have repelled an attack by some 400 insurgents believed to be affiliated with Boko Haram militant group, killing scores of them and capturing ten alive, according to a local vigilante group.
Residents told Anadolu Agency that insurgents armed with sophisticated firearms and an armored personnel carrier (APC) had attacked the Kalabalge community near the Cameroonian border in the early hours of Tuesday – only to fall into an ambush set by local vigilantes.
"We got wind of the impending attack, so we were more than prepared; we were determined not to run away," Isa Ibn Salam, a member of the local vigilante group popularly known as the "civilian JTF," told AA on Wednesday.
"We dug trenches in preparation for them. Fortunately, they were not aware. We were able to do so because there had been repeated threats of attacks on our village," Ibn Salam said.
He added that ten individuals thought to belong to the Boko Haram militant group had been taken alive and handed over to security agencies.
"We told them we won't take this nonsense," he said.
Kolo Mohamed, a hunter from the area, confirmed Ibn Salam's account of events, putting the number of deaths from among the attackers' ranks at 200.
"We killed well over 200 of them because we caught them by surprise. We did not sleep. We waited for them to fall into our trap and we descended on them," he said.
"Some of our kinsmen were killed, too, but they [the attackers] suffered heavy casualties," Mohamed added.
A soldier, who asked not to be named, confirmed the news, hailing what he called "the rare bravery of the Kalabalge people, who dealt a serious blow to the terrorists."
"I think this is a heartwarming development. They did not just kill well over a hundred of the terrorists, they also seized their APC and arrested ten of them," he said.
"But equally cheery is the fact that this is happening almost everywhere now, especially in Maiduguri [capital of Borno], where everybody is now involved in the security effort," the soldier added.
Earlier this month, suspected Boko Haram militants killed over 200 people in Gamboru Ngala, a Nigerian-Cameroonian border settlement some 200km from Maiduguri.
Nigerian forces, meanwhile, are still searching for scores of schoolgirls abducted last month by Boko Haram militants from a public high school in Borno's Chibok area.
The exact number of abducted schoolgirls, however, still remains dogged by controversy.
Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden" in Nigeria's local Hausa language, first emerged in the early 2000s preaching against government misrule and corruption.
The group later became violent, however, after the death of its leader in 2009 while in police custody.
In the five years since, the shadowy sect has been blamed for numerous attacks – on places of worship and government institutions – and thousands of deaths.
Military teams from the United Kingdom and United States recently arrived in Nigeria amid global efforts to find and rescue the kidnapped schoolgirls.
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