By Ndahi Marama
MAIDUGURI – For the first time, members of Boko Haram Islamist sect, yesterday evening physically engaged members of the military Joint Task Force, JTF, in a fight, leading to multiple bomb explosions in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
The incident occurred even as the Governor Kashim Shettima was said to have travelled out of the state for a week-long trip abroad.
Heavy gunfire and multiple bomb explosions took place in areas like Abaganaram, Budum, and the Lawan Bukar Street, where the family house of Governor Kashim and the Customs headquarters are situated. The number of casualties, if any, was yet to be ascertained.
The phone lines of JTF spokesman, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, where not reachable at the time of this report. Residents of Lawan Bukar street had, earlier in the day, fled the area following some unusual movements of troops and gunmen. A military patrol vehicle was attacked in the area, causing apprehension of possible reprisal attack by troops.
The areas where some of the sect members live among residents, according to a JTF authority, include Abaganaram, Budum, Gambouru, Zannari, Zajeri, Kalari and Gwange wards of the metropolis.
Lawan Bukar ward, which was the area where the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Modu Gubio, and five others were killed, is also where the family house of Governor Kashim Shettima is located. Three people were last week killed in their houses in the area.
Abba Musti, a resident, said: “I am moving out of this area with my four children, because I learnt that the military will launch a manhunt for Boko Haram members here in Lawan Bukar.
“ If they don’t find people that they are looking for, our male children would become the scapegoats, and they could be killed by either the armed sect of soldiers.”