Boko Haram raids displace 15,000
A screenshot shows Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a recent video (File/AFP)
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Over 15,000 people have been displaced in the wake of a raid by the Boko Haram militants on the town of Damboa over the weekend, an official says.
"The number of displaced in (the town of) Biu is 10,204. We have 3,000 in (the Borno state capital) Maiduguri and 2,000 in (the town of) Goniri," Abdulkadir Ibrahim of the National Emergency Management Agency said on Monday.
It is believed that scores of people were killed in the attack that began late on Thursday and continued in the next two days, Ibrahim added.
The military, however, reportedly tried to downplay the extent of the crisis.
In a press conference in the capital Abuja on the same day, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade rejected Boko Haram’s grip on Damboa and the surrounding areas.
"We are not conceding any portion of this country to any terrorist group," Olukolade said, adding, "Our patrols are active and they are stepping up their activities to reverse any insecurity there."
Boko Haram has recently escalated its campaign of terror by attacking many villages in Nigeria's northeast, burning homes and killing residents.
Boko Haram -- whose name means “Western education is forbidden” -- says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government.
It has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly gun and bomb attacks in various parts of Nigeria since the beginning of its militancy in 2009.