BY NDAHI MARAMA, MAIDUGURI
Atleast 57 people including 24 vigilante youths (Civilian JTF), 16 Shuwa Arab herdsmen and 17 civilians were killed by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in three different Local Government Areas of Monguno, Damboa and Nganzai in Borno state.
This ugly development is coming barely one week after the withdrawal of Joint Task Force ‘Operation Restore Order’ which was replaced by a Military Division. It was also observed that Governor Kashim Shettima on Saturday afternoon had a marathon meeting with security chiefs and traditional rulers in which the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Garbai Elkanemi was in attendance.
Although, Journalists were prevented from the meeting, it was gathered that the meeting dwelled extensively on how to review the security challenges currently going on in villages, towns and Council areas of the state, in which, all the affected local government chairmen used the opportunity and briefed the governor on the recent Boko Haram attacks in their domain.
Our Correspondent authoritatively gathered that the incident has put fear in the minds of the Vigilante youths, specifically those in Maiduguri Metropolis, as the state capital has within the last one week witnessed a drastic reduction of vigilante youths from the streets of Maiduguri.
The incident in Monguno according to sources said, “the 24 vigilante youths numbering over 100 were on a mission to capture some Boko Haram terrorists in their camps around Kaleri, Shuwari, Maganari and Nannari villages before they were ambushed by the terrorists which led to the death of 24 vigilante youths, while about 36 were still missing.
“ infact, there was an initial arrangement with military troops that they will accompany the vigilante youths to the said Boko Haram camps in Monguno, and when the youths waited to see the arrival of military for some hours without response, they took liver to visit the area with a view to arrest the suspects, but unknowingly to them that the armed Boko Haram sects were disguised in Military Uniform with three captured patrol vehicles of the security agencies which lured the vigilante youths to conclude that it was the military troops that went to the camp ahead of them.
“So as they approached the camps, the terrorists opened fire and killed about 15 of the Civilian JTF, while the other nine who were spiritually charmed against gunshots were killed by using their vehicles in crushing them. But as I am talking to you now, about 36 of the volunteered youths were still missing, while we received an unconfirmed report that five of the vigilante youths who escaped the attack with broken legs and hands injuries were rescued by some good Samaritans and are in one of the villages close to the camps which they are receiving treatment by the villagers”. The source disclosed.
Another reliable source in Gajiram of Nganzai Council area which has a boarder with Monguno told our Correspondent that 17 people were killed out of over 50 by the terrorists after they mobilized themselves with the intention of assisting/rescuing the vigilante youths in the area.
A top politician and close associate to the state governor who did not want his name mentioned in print for security reasons confirmed the Monguno, Nganzai and Damboa coordinated attacks. He said, “there was a massive killing of vigilante youths who were on a volunteered mission to arrest Boko Haram terrorists in Nganzai and Monguno, presently, the Chairman of Nganzai, Comrade Ajimi Badu and that of Monguno, Alhaji Mohammed Nur Monguno as well as the Vice – Chairman of Damboa, Honourable Ali Garba have all rushed to Maiduguri (Saturday) to brief governor Kashim Shettima on the separate incidents”. He stated.
Although, all the affected Caretaker Chairmen were sighted at the Government House after the meeting, they all confirmed the incidents, but declared further comments on the number of casualties.
On the Damboa fresh attack, our Correspondent gathered that Boko Haram terrorists who reside in their camps between Kafa and Yajiwa villages of Kaga and Damboa Council areas on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest attacked Shuwa herdsmen in one of their communities and killed two, before they fled back to their camps.
Sources in Damboa told our Correspondent that “we suspects that the Boko Haram terrorists who are hiding in their camps in Sambisa thought that the Shuwa herdsmen who also lived close to their camps are informants to military forces which led to the military raid in some of their camps before they fled to another camps without being arrested”.
However, it was gathered that the aggrieved Shuwa Arab herdsmen later mobilized on horses to revenge the killing of their two people, but unfortunately, when they approached the terrorists’ camps on the following day, the terrorists succeeded in killing 14 of them, while others escaped with gunshot wounds.
Owing to lack of telecommunication services in Borno for the past three months, the Military authorities and Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Gideon Jubrin could not be reached for confirmation as at the time of going to press. End.