January 28, 2014

Borno, Adamawa Burn Again: Gunmen kill 52, set 300 houses ablaze

Borno, Adamawa Burn Again: Gunmen kill 52, set 300 houses ablaze

File: Boko Haram attack

*Attackers bomb church, kill many in Adamawa
*I counted 49 dead bodies in Borno attack— Survivor
*40 people died — Police Commissioner


MAIDUGURI—BORNO, the epicentre of the Boko Haram murderous attacks literally burnt on Sunday as gunmen numbering over 50  invaded Kawuri District of Konduga Local Government Area of the state and set ablaze over 300 houses and shops after killing 52 people including a soldier, and wounding several others including policemen and civilians.

In neighbouring Adamawa State, several people, including two policemen were also feared killed as gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members attacked a church in Chakawa village of Madagali Local Government Area.

Some residents of the affected village who fled the area told newsmen that they were attacked during the Sunday service in the morning.

However, the Borno State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Lawal Tanko, who confirmed the deadly attack in Kawuri town to journalists in Maiduguri, said  40 people were killed while 25 others sustained gunshot wounds and burn injuries.

The Borno attack, which was carried out at about 5pm on a market day led to many traders and residents sustaining injuries. Some of the injured are now receiving treatment at Konduga General Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

Kawuri District is one of the towns in Konduga, which is along Maiduguri-Bama Expressway, about 60 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.

This is the second time the town is being attacked. The first was in October last year when some Boko Haram suspects clashed with vigilante youths popularly known as civilian JTF, which led to the killing of 10 people including three youths, while 18 were injured and over 48 shops and 200 houses were burnt in the attack.

File: Boko Haram attack

File: Boko Haram attack

Governor aborts trip to town
Governor Kashim Shettima who was billed to visit the ghost town yesterday morning had to suspend the trip following intelligence reports that the place was not safe.  The terrorists who attacked the town had planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), targeting rescue workers and security operatives deployed to maintain law and order in the area.

Vanguard gathered that the fresh attack on Kawuri town took place at about 5pm on Sunday when gunmen suspected to be terrorists armed with AK47 rifles, IEDs and petrol bombs entered the community and wreaked havoc before fleeing into the Sambisa forest.

I counted 47 dead bodies –Survivor

A survivor, Mallam Mustapha Modu said he counted about 47 dead bodies yesterday morning while several others sustained gunshots and various degrees of burns.

It would be recalled that in the last one week, 37 communities of Kwaljiri, Kaya, Ngawo Fate, Limanti, Njaba, Yahuri, Mude, Wala and Alau among others in Damboa, Konduga and Gwoza council areas have been sacked by terrorists. The displaced residents have taken refuge in some neighbouring villages of Cameroun Republic and other towns including Maiduguri metropolis.

The Police Commissioner of Borno State, Mr. Lawal Tanko confirmed the incident to Vanguard. He said:  “I received an intelligence information that Kawuri town was attacked by Boko Haram sect members suspected to be on  revenge mission on market day (Sunday), where many civilians were killed while several others were left with serious burn wounds before they set the whole place on fire. We have deployed our men to the area and very soon I will feed you with details”.

On the number of casualties on the side of his officers and men, Tanko said, some of his men were wounded in the attack but he did not lose any of them.

How they attacked us – survivors
Some survivors told newsmen in Maiduguri, yesterday, that the attack coincided with the weekly market of the town.

“The gunmen arrived the town using Sports Utility Vehicles, SUVs, and pretended to be villagers coming to the market. “Unknown to the people the gunmen had planted IEDs at strategic areas in the town before carrying out attacks on residents,” Malam Isa Ibrahim, a survivor, said.

He said that the gunmen also set several houses and shops ablaze before fleeing. Malam Fantara Madugu, another survivor, said he counted about 15 bodies at the end of the attack. We counted about 15 bodies of victims at the end of the attack. ‘We also assisted in conveying about 20 injured persons to the hospital,” he said.

Several worshippers killed in Adamawa church attack

Meanwhile, in Adamawa State, where Christians were attacked on Sunday, some of the worshippers who escaped being killed said: “They used explosives during the attack on worshippers and many people lost their lives”.
A  resident who identified himself as Apogu said: “I cannot actually say how many people were killed but I learnt that about 16 people were evacuated from the church.” Another resident claimed that some houses were also attacked by the gunmen who took some men hostage, while two policemen- an inspector and a sergeant who were on guard in the church were killed.

“I saw some people crying, saying that their relations had been taken away as hostages by the gunmen”, the resident who preferred anonymity said.

Attempts to get military and police authorities in the area to comment on the incident did not yield result.
A soldier in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity told Vanguard that nine people lost their lives during the attack.

He said the Army had sealed up the area and were hunting for the fleeing attackers.
Military authorities in Adamawa State have promised to speak on the issue later, even as the chairman of Madagali Local Government, Maina Ularamu confirmed the attack, but declined to comment on the casualty rate.

Meanwhile, Tanko said, with determination to end the violence perpetrated by terrorists in the region, particularly in Bama, Gwoza, Damboa council areas where over 30 communities were sacked and displaced in the last one week, the state command under the recommendation of the Police Service Commission, has decorated/promoted the Area Commander of Bama, Mr. David Dangiwa from the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police to Assistant Commissioner of Police, while Officer in-Charge of Operations, Mr. Aminu Koji was promoted from Assistant Commissioner to Deputy Commissioner of Police with immediate effect.

Head of civil service urged concerted efforts
Disturbed by the tragedy,  Alhaji Bukar Aji, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), said the fight against terrorism and crimes was a collective responsibility that should not be left for the Presidency alone.