Nigeria 'pushing back militants'

(REUTERS) - This is the Nigerian town of Michika after the military reclaimed it from Islamist Boko Haram militants.

It's one of several in the north-east taken back by troops on the ground backed by air strikes.

Residents who fled are starting to come back.

"Our home is in Madagali but we have fled to Michika to stay. Terrorists burned down our town so we fled to Mubi which was then also attacked. When we heard this town had been recaptured we came back, because we had to flee to Yola when Mubi was also attacked," displaced resident Halima Baba said.

The Emir of Mubi is also pleased to see the back of the militants.

"Peace has returned to Mubi. The reason why I left before was because there was no peace, but pieces, and now peace has reigned," said Emir of Mubi Isah Ahmadu.

The militants seized territory the size of Belgium last year which Nigeria's poorly-equipped army has struggled to reclaim.Military commanders now seem confident the tide has turned.

"We have reclaimed all captured territories as we are speaking. Madagali is the only local government which is yet to be recovered very soon," Lieutenant Colonel Asuquo Eka, Commanding Officer of Nigerian troops said.

Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin have mobilised forces to help Nigeria defeat Boko Haram which wants to carve out an Islamic state in the north-east.