LGA and town
Coordinates: NG 11°5′10″N 13°41′29″E / 11.08611°N 13.69139°E / 11.08611; 13.69139
Country  Nigeria
State Borno State
  Total 1,113 sq mi (2,883 km2)
Population (2006)
  Total 276,312
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)

Gwoza is a local government area of Borno State, Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Gwoza, a border town "about 135 kilometres South-East of Maiduguri."[1] The postal code of the area is 610.[2]

The terrain is rocky and hilly.[3] The Gwoza Hills, with heights of about 1300m above sea level provides scenery and is made up of the Mandara Mountains, which form a natural barrier between Nigeria and Cameroon, starting from Pulka. They overlook the game reserves by meandering towards Mubi and beyond in Adamawa State.[4]

The Gwoza LGA has been called "a notorious hide out for the Boko Haram insurgents,"[4] who arrived in the area in 2009 from Maiduguri.[5] The area has suffered considerable violence as a result of the Islamist insurgency in Nigeria, and in 2014, saw an influx of Boko Haram fighters fleeing Sambisa Forest.

As of 23 June 2014, "reports indicated that the whole of Gwoza was under attack. The report could not be substantiated because most telephone masts in Gwoza and surrounding villages have been vandalized by insurgents."[6] Deutsche Welle reported that "Roads out of the region are extremely dangerous and phone connections are poor to nonexistent."[7]

As of 19 October 2014, an estimated 3,000 Gwoza residents displaced by fighting are "squatting on the fringes of Abuja", according to a local relief committee spokesman, with "the need for shelter, food, clothing and medicare for the displaced also becoming dire."[8]

On 27 March 2015, the day before the Nigerian presidential election, the Nigerian Army announced that it had recaptured the town of Gwoza from Boko Haram.[9] According to, "Gwoza, one of the largest towns in Borno, fell under the control of Boko Haram terrorists on August 6, 2014."[10]


In April 2014, residents in Gwoza LGA reported that Boko Haram members fleeing from Sambisa Forest had moved into their towns on motorcycles, "being spotted in Patawe, Fadagwe, Wala, Uvaha, Gatha, Jige, Warabe and Ngoshe" villages. Motorcycles had been banned throughout Borno State for almost two years, and were rarely used by non-Boko Haram members.[11]

According to House of Representatives member, Hon. Peter Biye Gumtha, since the beginning of the Boko Haram attacks, "over 200 churches have been completely razed down, leaving only 8 functional churches in the whole of Gwoza Council area." As of January 2014, Biye was "the only Christian House of Representatives member from Borno State."[12] He remarked:

“What is happening in my constituency is very unfortunate and frightening. People are being killed by terrorists on a daily basis, Churches are being burnt, and if people like me who is also a member of the House Committee on Army, alerted military authorities based on intelligence reports that my village would be under attack by terrorists, and nothing was done to secure the area, then it is unfortunate, because the ordinary people that live in volatile areas are no longer safe and protected by our security outfits.[1]

On 30 May 2014, the traditional ruler, the Emir of Gwoza, Idrissa Timta, was killed after he was abducted with his colleague, the Emir of Uba, Ismaila Mamza, by armed men, in Hawul LGA.[13][14][15] "His convoy was ambushed while he was on the way to attend the funeral of his deceased colleague, the Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Shehu Abubakar."[16]

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State traveled to Gwoza, accompanied by a sizeable military escort, to pay his last respects to the Emir of Gwoza. As of June 2014, the Maiduguri-Bama road to Gwoza has been designated a "no-go zone" due to an "upredictable security situation". A journalist accompanying the Emir counted "16 towns, villages and hamlets that were completely deserted along the 135km road."[17] In his eulogy, Governor Shettima described the late Shehu Idrissa Timta as “a man who spent better part of his reign preaching peace and tolerance.”[18]

On 12 June 2014, Idrissa Timta's son, Muhammad Timta, (also called Alhaji Muhammad Shehu) became the new Emir of Gwoza. He "promised to unite and strengthen the relationship between Christians and Muslims in the area."[19][20]

On June 2, 2014, in an event that has been called the Gwoza massacre, "No fewer than 300 villagers were reportedly killed in three communities around Gwoza local government area of Borno State" by gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram.[21] "The militants arrived in Toyota Hilux pickup trucks - a common vehicle for the military - and told civilians they were soldiers there to protect the local population ... The gunmen reportedly gathered people in the center of the villages and fired on them. As people attempted to flee, militants on motorcycles waited outside the villages and attacked them."[7]

On 8 June 2014, the spokesperson for a group of religious and political leaders in Gwoza LGA, Dr Asabe Vilita, (also Borno Commissioner for Commerce and Investment), said:

“[W]e wish to state categorically clear that there is no outbreak of religious war in our communities in Gwoza as being speculated, especially in the social media. What our people are facing is full-scale insurgents’ attack and terrorism. Although sometimes people have disagreements due to the confusion caused by the attacks in different areas, our people have since identified the insurgents as common enemy and have decided to unite in fighting them.”

She said 1,290 people had been displaced, and that "most people had to escape to Maiduguri", where three camps have been set up. According to Vilita, "four of the six communities in Gwoza East are currently under siege by the insurgents": Ngoshe, Agapalwa, Ashigashiya and Cikide.[22][23]

On 22 June 2014,

The insurgents were said to have taken over most outskirts of Gwoza including the towns of Pulka and Kirawa, forcing residents to flee into neighboring Cameroon villages of Mura and Marwa, some 75km away from Nigeria borders.[24]

On 24 August 2014, Boko Haram claimed that it had formed an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza town. In December 2014, one hundred eighty five people in the Gumburi village area were kidnapped by Boko Haram. It was also reported that "people too elderly to flee Gwoza Local Government Area were being rounded up and taken to two schools where the militants opened fire on them." Over 50 elderly people were killed.[25] A "gory video" was released of insurgents shooting over a hundred civilians in a school dormitory in the town of Bama.[26]

In March 2015, the Nigerian army was reported to have retaken Gwoza town from Boko Haram forces.[9][27]




Central Kanuri language,[37] Cineni language,[35] Dghwede language,[38] Glavda language,[31] Guduf-Gava language,[36] Gvoko language,[39] Lamang language,[40] and Waja language [41] are spoken in Gwoko LGA.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 "Boko Haram Attacked Christians, Burns 100 Churches At Nigerian-Cameroon Border". 14 January 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  2. "Post Offices-with map of LGA". NIPOST. Archived from the original on 26 November 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  3. 1 2 "Scores killed in attack in northeast Nigeria". Al Jazeera English. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  4. 1 2 Bodunrin Kayode (29 April 2014). "Inside Nigeria's Sambisa forest, the Boko Haram hideout where kidnapped school girls are believed to be held". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  5. "Why has Borno become a stronghold of terror in Nigeria?". Deutsche Welle. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  6. "Nigeria: Three Soldiers Feared Killed As Bomber Hits Military Post". Daily Trust - 23 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  7. 1 2 "Boko Haram resists military offensive in Nigeria". Deutsche Welle. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  8. Terkula Igidi (19 October 2014). "Nigeria: From Gwoza Killing Field to Misery in Abuja". Daily Trust - Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  9. 1 2 "Boko Haram HQ Gwoza in Nigeria 'retaken'". BBC News. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  10. Nnenna Ibeh (27 March 2015). "Nigeria: Finally, Nigerian Troops Recapture Gwoza Town". - Premium Times. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  11. "Boko Haram fleeing to Gwoza villages". Daily Independent. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  12. 1 2 Maina Maina (12 January 2014). "Gwoza: Over 200 churches burnt down in two years". DailyPost Nigeria. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  13. Ola' Audu (30 May 2014). "Nigeria: Emir of Gwoza Killed After Abduction By Boko Haram". Premium Times - AllAfrica. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  14. Olanrewaju, Timothy (1 June 2014). "Tears as slain Emir of Gwoza is buried". The Sun (Nigeria). Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  15. Marama, Ndahi (31 May 2014). "Boko Haram attacks three Emirs, kills one". Vanguard (Nigeria). Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  16. Kareem Haruna; Bayo Oladeji (31 May 2014). "How Gunmen Killed Emir Of Gwoza". Nigerian News from Leadership Newspapers. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  17. "Emir's Burial: My Trip To Gwoza Town Took More Than Just Courage – Shettima". INFORMATION NIGERIA. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  18. Ndahi Marama (2 June 2014). "Fear of Boko Haram: Eminent persons shun late Gwoza monarch's burial". Vanguard News. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  19. "Borno: Gwoza Gets New Emir". INFORMATION NIGERIA. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  20. "Borno govt. presents letter of appointment to new Emir of Gwoza". Vanguard News. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  21. Abdullah Umar (5 June 2014). "Gwoza Under Siege - Boko Haram Kills 300, Wipes Out Three Villages". Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  22. 1 2 3 4 5 "Community leaders deny raging religious war in Gwoza". Punch. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  23. Iorakpen Ishu-Josef (9 June 2014). "No religious war in Gwoza". Nigerian Pilot. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  24. 1 2 3 4 Ola' Audu. "Boko Haram sacks residents of Bama, Gwoza in Borno". Premium Times. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  25. "Nigeria: Boko Haram Kills More Than 50 Elderly People". This Day -- Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  26. Kareem Haruna (22 December 2014). "Nigeria: New Video Shows Boko Haram Shooting Civilians at School Dormitory". Leadership (Abuja). Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  27. (14 April 2015) Nigeria's Chibok girls 'seen with Boko Haram in Gwoza',; retrieved 29 April 2015.
  28. "SHOCKING: 3 Soldiers Killed, Others Injured As Suicide Bomber Attacks Checkpoint". Daily Nigeria Info. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  29. Ola' Audu (2 June 2014). "13 killed as Boko Haram attacks Church in Gwoza, Borno". Premium Times. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  30. "Boko Haram Killed 9 People During Church Service In Gwoza Borno, 13 Terrorists Died". 3 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  31. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Glavda at Ethnologue
  32. 1 2 3 4 5 "Boko Haram Kills at Least 29 Christians in Gwoza Area, Nigeria". Morning Star News. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  33. Ross, Will (12 June 2014). "Nigeria's Boko Haram crisis reaches deadliest phase". BBC News. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  34. "Nigeria's Boko Haram crisis: Maiduguri 'preachers kill dozens'". BBC News. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  35. 1 2 Cineni at Ethnologue
  36. 1 2 3 4 Guduf-Gava at Ethnologue
  37. Central Kanuri at Ethnologue
  38. Dghwede at Ethnologue
  39. Gvoko at Ethnologue
  40. Lamang at Ethnologue
  41. Waja at Ethnologue
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