Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gunmen Kill 76 in Borno, Adamawa Attacks

Gunmen kill 76 in Borno, Adamawa attacks

Written by Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) and Emmanuel Ande (Yola)
Nigerian Guardian

Gunmen-• 22 shot dead in church, others injured

A FOUR-HOUR attack by suspected Boko Haram’s members on a church in Adamawa State has claimed 22 lives.

This attack on Sunday was preceded by an outbreak of violence in Borno State in which a gang of 50 gunmen suspected to be members of the same terrorist group attacked two villages of Kauwuri and Wala in Konduga and Gwoza Council Areas and killed 54 residents.

The violence in Adamawa came nine days after the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Alexander Badeh, an indigene of the state said that within four months the insurgents in the North East would be defeated.

The renewed violence took place two days ahead of President Goodluck Jonathan’s one-day visit to Adamawa to commission some

Nigerian Air Force’s projects in the state.

A statement by the Army Public Relations Officer, Captain Nuhu Jarfaru, disclosed that from 9 a.m. the busy Numan Road, Galadima Aminu Road which houses all the commercial banks in the capital and Jimeta-Yola Road will be sealed off today.

The Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Yola, Rev. Fr. Raymond Danbouye, who confirmed the incident to The Guardian said that they were yet to receive its full details.

“When we get the details I’ll be able to give you the details including the number of those that were killed”, he said.

A survivor, Mr. James Audu, told The Guardian on phone that the gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram invaded a Catholic church in Waga Chakawa village in Madagali Local Council Area in Adamawa State when the mass was at its peak on Sunday morning, killing 22 people and injuring several other members of the church.

He disclosed that the insurgents who used explosives and other heavy weapons operated from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. without resistance from security operatives.

“They used explosives during the attack on worshippers and many people lost their lives.

“I cannot actually say how many people were killed but I learnt that there were about 22 people evacuated from the church”, one of the residents who identified himself as Apogu said.

Another resident confirmed that some houses were also attacked by the gunmen who held some men hostage.

“I saw some people crying, saying that their relations had been taken away as hostages by the gunmen”, a survivor who pleaded anonymity said.

All attempts to get the military and police authorities in the state to comment on the incident failed.

But a top military officer in the area who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to do this told The Guardian that nine people lost their lives during the attack.

He said the army had sealed off the area and were hunting for the attackers.

Madagali Local Council is bordering Gwoza Local Council of Borno State, which is known for insurgent attacks.

The gunmen who launched attacks on communities in Borno State on Friday and Sunday also killed a soldier before they were repelled by a combined team of military and police operatives in the early hours of Monday.

Kauwuri is a fishing community on the Maiduguri-Bama Road, and 60 kilometres East of the state capital.

According to Yunana Tada, a resident of Wala, the gunmen attacked Wala village with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol-bombs in four vehicles, and set the entire village on fire, while livestock and grains were carted away.

“Many of us had to flee for our lives, because we don’t know the motives of these gunmen, who kill without any genuine cause, as two of our neighbours were killed in the Friday afternoon attacks, after attempting to secure their livestock from being snatched away. The policemen came very late, as the gunmen had fled,” he said.

The Borno State Police Commissioner, Tanko Lawal, disclosed that the gunmen set on fire the whole village comprising about 300 houses, after attacking the market at about 5:00 p.m., and killed over 50 traders and other residents that attempted to flee into the bush.

He said 23 other villagers who sustained injuries had been taken to Konduga General Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), while the 53 bodies had been deposited at the state Specialist Hospital mortuary for identification by family members yesterday.

“I cannot give you the exact number of villagers killed in Kauwuri’s attacks of yesterday (Sunday), but no less than 50 were feared dead yesterday (Sunday) morning, including the injured police officers and men, while repelling the insurgents from launching further attacks that evening.

“We also received an intelligence report that Kawuri village was attacked by the Boko Haram group suspected to be on a revenge mission on a market day (Sunday) of the affected village on Maiduguri-Bama Road, where many civilians were killed while several others were left with serious burns before they set the whole village on fire. We have also deployed our men in the area and before the end of the day (Monday) I will brief you on the casualty details, including the total number of our men injured in the attacks. Fortunately, none of our men was killed,” Lawal said.

On the Wala incident, a senior police officer who was involved in the Friday’s operations, but not authorised to speak, also told The Guardian: “It took our men over two hours in the exchange of gunfire with Boko Haram insurgents. Our men were able to destroy four of the insurgents’ vehicles, comprising two pickup vans and two other Golf Volkswagen vehicles, laden with explosives, and ammunition.

“But luck was on our side; none of our men was killed in the two-hour exchange of gunfire, but four insurgents were killed, with the arrest of one suspect, allegedly to have been a Calabar resident from Cross River State, and he is being detained in Maiduguri for further investigation.”

He said the gunmen ransacked the entire village, carted away residents’ livestock and grains into a bus, and fled towards the Sambisa Forest, east of the village located on Bama-Gwoza Road. On the casualties of Wala attacks and killings, the spokesman of 7 Division of Nigerian Army, Col. Muhammad Dole said that he was yet to get details from troops of 202 Tank Battalion, Bama.

“As soon as the soldiers return from their operations; compile the details of casualties, they will thereafter send the report to us here in Maiduguri today or tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said.

The Guardian also learnt that five villages and other communities were also attacked this month, killing no less than 49 indigenes.

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