Wednesday, Boko Haram seized Gwoza, a christian stronghold in Nigeria’ s predominantly Islamic and increasingly lawless north. In its land-grab for radical Islam, Boko Haram has “taken control of towns, villages and roads throughout most of Nigeria’s Borno state, which is about as big and populous as Ireland,” according to Nigerian officials. A radical Islamic insurgency bent on establishing a separate Islamic state to be ruled by Sharia law, Boko Haram has waged a campaign of increasingly brutal terror against Christians, moderate Muslims, educators, students, and military and law enforcement personnel for more than a decade.
08/08/2014 Nigeria (Wall Street Journal) – Islamist insurgents from Boko Haram killed at least 50 people as they stormed a town in northeastern Nigeria, residents and vigilantes stationed there said, dealing the Nigerian army its latest setback.
Attackers came from “all corners” into the town of Gwoza on Wednesday, sending men who had sworn to protect it running into nearby mountains, said Maina Kamusa, a local vigilante leader. “Dead bodies littered every part of the town,” he said.
Gwoza had been a bastion of opposition to Boko Haram, nestled in a mountain range of villages that have largely acquiesced to the militants’ rule.
The area’s ravines are pocketed with caves into which Boko Haram has stashed ammunition and supplies, said Human Rights Watch researcher Mausi Segun, basing her statement on interviews with refugees. The area would be formidable terrain for Nigeria’s army to retake.