Traditional elders in the north-eastern Nigerian state of Borno have warned that Islamist militants have “completely surrounded” the main city of Maiduguri.
According to the statement issued by the Borno Elders Forum(BEF), the military was needed to “fortify” the city, which had a population of more than two million, to prevent an assault “from all directions”.
“We are convinced that the Federal Government of Nigeria has not shown sufficient political will to fight Boko Haram and rescue us from the clutches of the insurgents which may ultimately lead to the total annihilation of the inhabitants of Borno.”
“The insurgents have surrounded Maiduguri and are nursing the ambition of attacking the city from all directions. There is credible local intelligence information to that effect. We must be pro-active. Maiduguri is heavily pregnant with people who have trooped into it hoping for safety.” The elders added.
Boko Haram themselves had announced that they had “annexed” areas about 50km from Maiduguri, declaring a caliphate in the areas in controls last month. The group had changed tactics in recent months, from hit-and-run attacks to actually holding on to towns in the north-east, where the majority of people are Muslims.
Boko Haram’s five-year insurgency has been seen as the biggest threat to Nigeria’s territorial integrity since the 1967-70 civil war, according to analysts.