Nigerian Islamists flee army onslaught: ReportJuly 30th, 2009 - 1:16 pm ICT by IANS
Nairobi/Abuja, July 30 (DPA) Nigerian Islamists have fled an army onslaught after four days of fighting that killed over 200 people, media reports said Thursday.
Boko Haram, a group called the Nigerian Taliban, launched a series of attacks on police stations across northern Nigeria Sunday.
The military has since struck back, killing and arresting hundreds.
Troops Wednesday laid siege to the compound of Mohammed Yusuf, the group’s leader, in the town of Maiduguri, Borno state.
According to the Nigerian military, the militants have now fled the city with the army hot on their heels, the BBC reported.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with around 150 million inhabitants, is split between the Muslim north and the Christian and animist south.
Boko Haram, which was formed in 2002, wants to impose sharia, or Islamic law, across the whole of Nigeria and is also opposed to Western education.
The group launched its first attack on a police station in Bauchi, sending around 70 men armed with automatic weapons and grenades into the fray.
The police repelled the initial attack, killing dozens of militants, but the violence then spread.
Over 100 people were reported killed in Maiduguri and in Potiskum, Yobe state, militants set fire to a police station and murdered one of the firefighters attempting to put out the blaze.
The militants also reportedly murdered civilians at random.
President Umaru Yar’Adua, who is himself a Muslim from the north, has ordered security forces to take whatever action is necessary to restore order.
Analysts say that while the group has caused chaos in the last few days, it is too early to say if it will emerge as a major threat to security in the impoverished north.
The north has been gradually implementing stricter Islamic law, which has led to trouble with Christian groups.
Clashes in Bauchi earlier this year left five people dead and several churches and mosques gutted by fire.
Hundreds died in the city of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, last November when local elections degenerated into bloody clashes.
- Nigerian police lay siege to Islamist base - Jul 29, 2009
- 721 inmates escape in Nigeria - Sep 08, 2010
- Nigerian police kill Islamist leader, face criticism (Lead, Changing dateline) - Jul 31, 2009
- 'Boko Haram' attacks leave more than 80 people killed in northern Nigeria - Nov 07, 2011
- Two Boko Haram commanders killed in Nigeria - Sep 21, 2012
- Radical Islamist sect claims responsibility for Nigeria church attacks - Dec 29, 2010
- Two killed in bomb blast in northern Nigeria - May 15, 2011
- Two killed, 26 Boko Haram members held in Nigeria - Jul 28, 2012
- Toll in Nigerian clashes now put at over 600 - Aug 03, 2009
- Emergency declared in Nigeria - Jan 01, 2012
- Two killed in Nigeria bank attack - Aug 26, 2012
- Politician shot dead in Nigeria - May 26, 2012
- Thousands flee after clashes between Nigerian security forces and militants - Dec 29, 2011
- 20 Boko Haram militants killed in Nigeria - Aug 13, 2012
- U.S. warns of terrorist attacks in Nigerian capital - Nov 07, 2011
Tags: abuja, animist, automatic weapons, boko, borno state, christian groups, initial attack, islamic law, mohammed yusuf, mosques, muslim north, nigeria africa, northern nigeria, onslaught report, police station, police stations, populous nation, umaru yar adua, western education, yobe state