Africa

Nigeria Boko Haram crisis: 'Borno needs more troops'

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Media caption Residents said the convoy of militants drove into the middle of Konduga and went on the rampage

The governor of the north-eastern Nigerian state of Borno has called for more troops to be deployed to combat Boko Haram Islamist militants.

Kashim Shettima was speaking during a visit to the town of Konduga, where 39 died in an attack on Tuesday.

A mosque and more than 1,000 homes were also razed to the ground, residents said.

Boko Haram has been conducting a four-year campaign of violence to push for Islamic rule in northern Nigeria.

Last May, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno and the neighbouring states of Adamawa and Yobe in a bid to stop their insurgency.

But the BBC's Will Ross in Nigeria says the military is once again facing criticism for not doing more to protect the people of the north-east and failing to detect and attack another convoy of Boko Haram militants.

'Better motivated'

An eyewitness in Konduga, about 35km (22 miles) from the Borno state capital Maiduguri, said the militants arrived in many vehicles, planted a black flag in the middle of the town before going on the rampage shooting people, slitting the throats of some of their victims and torching buildings.

"Frankly speaking officers and men of the Nigerian army and the Nigerian police force are doing their best given the circumstances but you and I know that Boko Haram are better armed and better motivated," Mr Shettima said.

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Image caption Ferocious Boko Haram attacks have continued despite emergency rule

"They are putting in their best given the circumstances they have found themselves in but there is a need for additional troops and support for the military," the governor said.

It is not clear how many troops are in the region, but thousands more were deployed last year when Mr Jonathan imposed emergency rule, saying every resource of the armed forces would be used to combat the militants.

Frustrated by their efforts, the president then replaced his top military brass on 16 January.

The attack on Konduga is thought to have been the biggest in the restive region since those new appointments.

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