From Timothy Olanrewaju Maiduguri
Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) fighters, yesterday, launched a massive attack on Rann, headquarters of Kala-Balge Local Government Area of Borno State, forcing many residents to flee to Cameroon.
Rann is about 350km from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, and shares boundary with Cameroon.
Sources said heavily armed fighters stormed Rann in the early hours and engaged troops in a fierce gun battle in a bid to take over the town.
Reports from fleeing residents, however, said while they ransacked the military base and torched many houses, they allowed civilian to leave unharmed, but denied pass to humanitarian workers. It was learnt that many humanitarian workers had taken to the bush, assisted by locals, and moving towards the Cameroon border in effort to find their way out and avoid the militants.
“They burnt down the military base and some vehicles. The soldiers abandoned their bases following more superior firepower from the insurgents. They are allowing civilians to leave the community, but denying humanitarian workers pass, while others are hibernating outside the community,” a source said.
It was learnt that the ISWAP fighters having subdued troops took over control of Rann, but fled the town following a military reinforcement.
Rann has experienced repeated attacks by insurgents, leading to the displacement of dozens of residents who are in IDPs camps.