Boko Haram fighters are preparing in mass at their headquarters in the northeastern Nigerian town of Gwoza, Maiduguri, Borno State for a showdown with Multinational Joint Task Force, residents and an intelligence officer told The Associated Press.
A woman, who was trapped in the town since it was seized in July, 2014 told her daughter that the insurgents were urging civilians to leave town to avoid being killed in crossfire in an anticipated major battle.
Hajiya Adama said her mother told her that the insurgents had also released some young women being held against their will, including some made pregnant during their captivity.
She said her mother left last week and escaped to the town of Yola, in neighbouring Adamawa state capital.
Adama said, “She told me that Boko Haram terrorists asked them to leave suddenly, that they were preparing grounds for a major battle.
“She said while being helped by other women to leave through Madagali, they saw many Boko Haram terrorists in trucks and some on bikes moving toward Gwoza.”
An intelligence officer said security forces have been moving slowly for fear of harming civilians, and especially since the insurgent group is surrounding Gwoza with land mines.