Nigerian troops retook a major border town and killed scores of Boko Haram fighters today, Nigeria's military says, although witnesses also reported the Islamic extremists killed scores in attacks on other villages. Troops seized back the garrison town of Baga, on Lake Chad and the border with Cameroon, after a fighter jet bombarded the area and soldiers advanced on booby-trapped roads by dismantling some 1,500 land mines, a military rep says. "Many of the terrorists died while an unknown but substantial number of them fled with various degrees of injury," he notes, adding that many insurgents drowned in trying to escape as soldiers stormed into Baga early yesterday.
The victory, which the AP was unable to verify independently, comes amid a major multinational push to halt the spreading Islamic uprising by Nigeria's home-grown extremist group, which has been attacking neighboring Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. In the latest Boko Haram violence involving Niger, another military official says today that seven soldiers were killed in an overnight attack on the island of Karamga in Lake Chad. The official says 14 Boko Haram assailants were also killed in the fighting. In a major turnaround after months of gains by Boko Haram, military from Nigeria and Chad have reported retaking at least a dozen towns in recent weeks that had been in extremist hands for months. (Read more Boko Haram stories.)