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Horrific Boko Haram Victory Takes a Surprising Turn in Nigeria as the Battle Against Islamic Extremism Continues

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (TheBlaze/AP) — The Nigerian army says it has regained control of Chibok, the northeastern town where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamic extremists more than six months ago.

Chibok was seized by Boko Haram militants Thursday but the army says it dislodged them two days later on Saturday.

Nigerian army spokesman Brigadier General Olajide Olaleye told the Associated Press that Chibok is firmly in the hands of the Nigerian army. He said there are no insurgents left in Chibok and he encouraged residents to return to their homes.

"Chibok is firmly in the hands of the Nigerian army," he told the AP. "Chibok is free. Secured."

The Nigerian army made similar claims on Twitter:

 

This comes after many lamented Boko Haram's initial victory last week.

"Boko Haram has taken over Chibok and we have all fled," Christian priest Enoch Mark said on Friday, according to CNN. "They are now in control of the town, having overpowered the soldiers and the vigilantes."

As the AP noted, Chibok is comprised of mainly Christian families, with some individuals there working to translate the Bible into local languages.

Boko Haram still holds other cities and towns though in the area and has publicly proclaimed a caliphate in the area. It is in this area — comprised of 7,000 square miles — where people are punished with the amputation of their arms for looting and with whipping if found smoking cigarettes.

It was in August that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau made the land claim in a video, pledging to continue killing and pillaging in the name of Allah.

“Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in [the town of] Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate,” Shekau said. ”By the grace of Allah we will not leave the town. We have come to stay.”

TheBlaze has covered Boko Haram's terror activity in Nigeria over the past few years, noting that the situation has continued to disintegrate.

An official with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri said a few months ago that the situation is grave.

“Things are getting pretty bad,” the Rev. John Bakeni, secretary of the diocese, said, according to Religion News Service. “A good number of our parishes in Pulka and Madagali areas have been overrun in the last few days.”

In this image made from video received by The Associated Press on Monday, May 5, 2014, Abubakar Shekau is the leader of Nigeria's Islamic extremist group Boko Haram (AP) In this image made from video received by The Associated Press on Monday, May 5, 2014, Abubakar Shekau is the leader of Nigeria's Islamic extremist group Boko Haram (AP)

A statement attributed to the diocese further detailed what’s been unfolding in the region, noting that the situation has “truly gone out of control,”according to an article in Nigeria’s the Daily Post.

“Apart from the churches within Maiduguri that have great share of such attacks by the terrorists group, all the churches on the major road linking Maiduguri and Adamawa state have been shut down due to activities of the insurgents,” the statement read.

But in addition to churches being shuttered and taken over, militants have also reportedly burned down houses of worship and committed murders in what the release called “a moment of great persecution.”

“Christian men were caught and beheaded, the women were forced to become Muslims and were taken as wives to the terrorists. The houses of Christians that have fled are now occupied by the Haramists,” the statement continued. “Their cars are used by the terrorists. Some Boko Haram sympathizers around the town showed the terrorists Christian homes, and Christians hiding were also identified and killed.”

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