By NDAHI MARAMA
MAIDUGURI — No fewer than 20 people were feared dead, while several others sustained injuries, yesterday, when suspected Boko Haram terrorists launched separate attacks on Gajiram, the council headquarters of Nganzai and Bulabulin Ngawra Village of Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State.
During the attacks, two primary schools, a clinic and some residential houses were also set ablaze.
Nganzai is about 73 kilometres, while Bullabulin Ngawra is 45 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the state capital. Both councils are linked and share borders with the terrorist’s camps of Marte and Sambiza Forests said to have been destroyed by JTF at the peak of the emergency rule and the military onslaught of Boko Haram terrorists in the state since June this year.
Although, the actual number of casualties could not be officially ascertained at press time, our Correspondent gathered that some terror suspects numbering more than 40 fully armed with Ak47 rifles laid ambush on Gajiram town on Thursday morning where they killed 15 residents and set some public and residential buildings ablaze. Thereafter, they were repelled by the combined efforts of the vigilante youths and men of the Joint Task Force, JTF.
It was also gathered that the State Attorney-General, Mr. Kaka Shehu Lawan later went to Gajiram to condole with the residents. He was said to have gone in company of the chairman of the local government council and some senior police officers.
Similarly, on the Maiduguri- Dambao-Biu road which was reopened two weeks ago after its closure by the JTF, Boko Haram suspects were said to have mounted roadblocks few metres away from Bullabulin Ngawra village where they shot and killed five people
An eye witness, Aisami Babagana from Bulabilin Ngawra told our Correspondent that, “the Boko Haram sect members attacked Bullabulin Ngawra in the early hours of today (Thursday) and killed five people. I believe that they attacked us because of how our volunteers have succeeded in curtailing their atrocities in our area”.
Some residents of Maiduguri who did not want their names mentioned in print for security reasons told our Correspondent that “We saw two Hilux patrol vehicles of the JTF conveying dead bodies and the injured heading towards University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH, but we could not ascertain whether they were victims of the latest attack in Nganzai or Bullabulin Ngawra.”
Meanwhile, in their renewed efforts to put an end to Boko Haram insurgency in the state, members of the state’s Vigilante Youths also being addressed as ‘Civilian JTF or Yangora’ and men of Joint Task Force, JTF; Wednesday arrested 14 terror suspects with arms and ammunition in Bulunkutu ward, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH, premises and Sulimanti ward of Maiduguri metropolis.
The arrested terror suspects at the hospital, according to sources, yesterday, in Maiduguri, sneaked into the hospital through the perimeter fence, before the youths sighted them with rifles and ammunition at about 10.35am on Wednesday.
Boko Haram informants nabbed
Those who were arrested in Bulunkutu area of the metropolis, according to one of the vigilante youths, were “Boko Haram informants” from Northern Borno and Yobe state, who came to Maiduguri on Tuesday to collate more information on the activities of JTF and vigilance youths patrolling Bulunkutu and Gomari Airport wards of Maiduguri.
Speaking on how the terror suspects beat UMTH security on Tuesday, a source at the hospital said: “The suspects disguised as wounded and sick persons with rifles hidden under their flowing gowns, and perforated the barbed wires; before gaining entry into the hospital premises to seek medical attention. The vigilance youths, were able to sight the suspects; and arrested them on the spot, before handing them to us here.”
He said the youths also recovered from the suspects rifles and ammunition, including charms worn round their waists and arms. The suspects were also said to have wounds suspected to be from gunshots they sustained either at Bama or Monguno last week during encounters with JTF.
Speaking on the incidents, the JTF spokesman, Lt. Colonel Sagir Musa, told journalists in Maiduguri that he was not aware of the incidents, but promised to send press release on the development after compiling his report.