Nigeria’s northeastern Bama town remains in the grip of Boko Haram militants with several locals still trapped in the enclave, a federal lawmaker from other area has said.
“Nothing has changed. Bama remains effectively in the hands of the militants and our people are dying of hunger and diseases,” Senator Ahmed Zannah, who hails from Bama town, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday morning.
“The military has refused to liberate Bama months after the terrorists had taken it over,” he said.
Boko Haram seized Bama in the first week of September reportedly after a fierce battle with soldiers that lasted days and claimed many lives on both sides.
But the army has always disputed the claim, insisting that soldiers are in charge of the commercial town located nearly 60km from Maiduguri, the provincial capital of the Borno State.
Senator Zannah, who has repeatedly contradicted the army on counterinsurgency operations in the northeastern region, said the military is “capable of ending this once and for all but is hampered by a number of interests holding it down.”
“I see no reason why the troops cannot flush out the rag tag militants from this town despite their (troops) successes elsewhere especially in Konduga,” he told AA.
“We need to save the people as well as save our territorial integrity as a country,” added the lawmaker.
Zannah stopped short, however, of mentioning such interests, although his comments fall within widespread allegations of political interest fuelling the insurgency as a strategy ahead of the 2015 general elections.
Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) have traded blame over who is behind the five-year insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, destroyed businesses and displaced no less than six million people from the region.