BY NDAHI MARAMA, MAIDUGURI
Anxiety gripped motorists and travelers along the popular Kano-Damaturu-Maiduguri highway yesterday evening following speculations that Boko Haram insurgents were on the road ostensibly to unleash violence on the people.
Sources said hundreds of travelers and motorists from the Damaturu end of the road were compelled to make U-turn to the neighbouring Yobe State as rumour went round that the insurgents had again blocked the Maiduguri-Beneshiek axis of the road.
Witnesses said they saw many motorists and vehicle reversed and speed off to Damaturu in fear when they were told “the road was bad,” an apparent reference to the insecurity around the area. “We hurriedly reversed and returned to Damaturu, 30 minutes after we passed the town. Those who had gone earlier warned us to reverse that the insurgents are on the road,” a commercial driver told our correspondent on phone. He said many travelers vowed not to proceed until security troops clear the road and assure it was safe.
Malam Abdul Kabir who was returning to Maiduguri yesterday from Kano said he was forced to make a U-turn after he was informed of the situation on the road.
“Over 50 vehicles coming from Abuja, Kano, Jigawa and Bauchi had to return to Damaturu. There is speculation that Boko Haram men have returned to the road again and everybody was afraid to pass the road. I have made a U-turn to Damaturu now and there are other commuters and motorists. It is dangerous to proceed and we are staying here tonight,” he said on telephone. He disclosed that many of the commuters said they would prefer to sleep in open places in Damaturu than risk traveling on the road yesterday evening.
Mid September last year, Boko Haram insurgents had stormed Beneshiek, blocked the highway after attacking military base at the outskirt of the town. No fewer than 100 people, mainly commuters and motorists, were slaughtered on the highway by the insurgents. The development has compelled incessant patrol on the road by military troops.
The State Commissioner of Police, Lawan Tanko could not be reached for confirmation and reaction on the development as at press time.