While it’s still not clear if Boko Haram has taken control of Borno’s second biggest city, Bama, (too many conflicting reports) there are reports now that they have taken control of the smaller town of Bara, which is halfway between Maiduguri and Abuja.
Reuters reports that Boko Haram took over Bara town without firing a shot or killing anyone. A source said the militants entered the town without any resistance from any security forces who are not stationed anywhere in the small town, and went about trying to convince people to join their cause.
Boko Haram’s attacks appear to have shifted focus in recent weeks away from creating mayhem to taking ground and holding it, a strategy analysts say could be inspired by the Islamic State’s example of declaring a caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
Last month, the insurgents captured the remote farming town of Gwoza, along the Cameroon border, during heavy fighting. Their leader Abubakar Shekau declared in a video that the town was now “Muslim territory”.
Boko Haram militants have driven more than many people from Bama amid fierce fighting.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Borno state said on Wednesday that 26, 391 displaced had so far been registered from the town. “The number is growing by the hour,” its spokesman Abdulkadir Ibrahim said.