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Boko Haram militants seize town

Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has seized the Nigerian town of Chibok from which the insurgents kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in April.

A local official said that thousands of residents are "just trying to escape with their lives".

He said the fighters took Chibok on Thursday afternoon.

Dozens of the kidnapped girls escaped in the first couple of days after their capture from a boarding school outside the town, but 219 remain missing.

Boko Haram has taken control of several towns since the military announced a ceasefire on October 17.

The insurgents rode into town shooting from pick-up trucks and motorcycles and quickly took control, the official said.

Community leader Hussain Monguno said none of the escapees was in Chibok at the time of the attack as they all have been given scholarships to other schools in northern Nigeria.

Nigeria's military chief announced on October 17 that the country's home-grown Boko Haram extremist group had agreed to an immediate ceasefire.

Instead, the insurgents have since taken control of several towns and villages where they have declared an Islamic caliphate along the lines of the IS group in Iraq and Syria.

In an area covering about 7,700 square miles, residents caught behind the militants' lines say they have set up courts upholding a strict version of Shariah law, publicly amputating the hands of alleged looters and whipping people for things such as smoking cigarettes.

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