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Nigerian Military Says It Retook Key Town


FILE - Civilians fleeing Islamist militants in the town of Bama take refuge at a school in Maiduguri. Nigeria's military says it has retaken Bama from Boko Haram.

FILE - Civilians fleeing Islamist militants in the town of Bama take refuge at a school in Maiduguri. Nigeria's military says it has retaken Bama from Boko Haram.

Nigeria's military says it has recaptured the key town of Bama in the country's northeast from Islamic militants who have controlled it since September.

The military said on its Twitter feed Monday, "Nigerian troops have this afternoon routed terrorists from Bama in Borno state. Mopping up operation is ongoing."

The report has not been verified independently.

Bama, Borno’s second biggest city, lies about 65 kilometers southeast of the state capital, Maiduguri.

Nigeria's military also said Monday it had cleared Boko Haram militants from Yobe, another northeastern state, after reclaiming the town of Goniri.

On Friday, the military said troops had freed the last area held by militants in northeastern Adamawa state.

The three states – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – have felt much of the violence in Boko Haram's six year insurgency. They've been under a state of emergency since last May.

The militant group recently expanded its attacks into the neighboring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. However, those attacks led to a counter-offensive by Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, which has succeeded in retaking towns across northeastern Nigeria over the past month.

Boko Haram, which wants to create an Islamic state, is blamed for more than 10,000 deaths since 2009.

The government's inability to quell the violence has embarrassed Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, leading his government to delay February's presidential elections by six weeks. The vote now is set to take place March 28.

Jonathan's chief rival is Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler perceived as tough on national security.

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