ADAMAWA: Their black Sunday!

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*I hid among the dead inside church to escape insurgents’ bullets – Worshipper

BY UMAR YUSUF

Adamawa-photoOn  January 26, 2014, the people of Chakawa village, a border community  between Madagali in Adamawa State and Gwoza in Borno State woke up normally with high hopes of a crisis-free Sunday worship.
But, little did they know that danger loomed over the  village, a  predominantly  Christian settlement.

At  about 10:00am, the village  of about 300 to 400 people, mainly peasant farmers, was thrown into chaos as  suspected  Boko Haram insurgents’ unleashed terror on the villagers and churches in the community.
The insurgents struck at  the only Catholic Church in the village.

A worshipper in the church,  who narrowly  escaped death , Godiya Ayuba,  told  Sunday Vanguard that the attackers entered the village from  multiple  directions and,  within a twinkle of an eye, the entire area was surrounded giving no escape route for any person.

He stated that the attackers, who came on motor bikes and some vehicles, numbered over 50.
According to him, the insurgents quickly surrounded the Catholic Church and locked  the  doors thereby  trapping the worshippers.
”The next thing, they started  shooting randomly. Worshippers were slaughtered inside the church and within the premises. Then the vicinity became quiet  I hid  among corpses”,  Godiya recounted.

He added that the insurgents  operated for about  two  hours in the church before taking their leave. “I never believed I could survive. Miraculously no bullet hit me. I hid among the  bodies for over two hours,  I was in another world”, he recounted.

Another survivor, Mr. Samuel Mshellia, narrated  that when the attackers stormed the church, what was uppermost in  worshippers minds was that politicians had come  to campaign because of the number of  vehicles used.
Samuel stated that as one of the church elders, he had gone to a nearby compound to pick an item when the killers  came.

”I watched the killers doing their heinous act from the compound as crying and wailing rented the entire church premises and the suburb.
After the killings in the church, the attackers went  freely around shouting war slogans”, he  stated.

Giving the causality figure of the attack, the chairman of Madagali local government, Mr. Maina Ularamu, said  34 persons had  been confirmed dead, even as more than the figure  were  missing.  He disclosed that 20 others with various degrees of injury  many of them on danger list were  receiving treatment in hospital.
He maintained that after the church attack, the insurgents retired  to the village where they killed  many people and carted away  food  items.

Ularamu expressed regret that military personnel enforcing  emergency rule  in Adamawa State failed to live up to  expectation during the attack.
”To our surprise, the attackers came calling in Chakawa village that fateful day at about 10:00am. And immediately they  struck, I was alerted and the military authorities were accordingly informed”,
he  stated.

“The military only arrived our village at about 3pm when the  killings had ended  and the insurgents gone.
”Ordinarily, it should not have taken a military aircraft about five minutes from Yola to counter the insurgency attack, if action were taken immediately, but when they came it was too late”.
Ulamaru suggested  sophisticated weapons  for the security agents enforcing emergency rule in the state, even as he commended the Divisional Police Officer in area for his prompt action during the attack.

 

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