BY Henry Umoru & NDAHI MARAMA
MAIDUGURI—Gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram Islamic sect, yesterday, attacked some communities in Chibok and Biu local government areas of Borno State, killing no fewer than 51 people. Those killed were mostly Christian worshippers. Five churches including Cocin, EYN and Deeper Life Bible Church in Kwada village, about 10 kilometres from Chibok were also burnt down when the gunmen laid ambush on them during church service.
The attacks were carried out on a day the Federal Government said last week’s bomb attack on Abuja was meant to intimidate the government and that it is a struggle for power.
It was in Chibok town that 276 female students of Government Girls Secondary School were abducted by terrorists on April 14 this year.
Boko Haram had two weeks ago written to Chibok communities threatening to carry out further attacks.
The attackers, according to report from locals in Chibok, made good their threat at a time the people were all in Church for the Sunday worship. A resident of one of the affected communities, Amos Bulus told Vanguard that, “the attackers killed and burnt houses after attacking worshippers in five churches in Kwada, before moving to Kautikari less than 8 kilometres to Chibok town, killing and burning down people’s houses and property. The security operatives were not on ground to defend us. In fact, those who ran into the bush were pursued and killed by the murderers.”
It was gathered from another source that the people living in Chibok town have fled their homes following the news of the attacks in Kwada and Kautikari.
A police officer, Peter Maina said he was called out from a Church service in Maiduguri, only to be informed that his brother was killed at Kwada when the insurgents attacked the village during church service.
Tears flow from Chibok natives
Vanguard also gathered that Chibok natives resident in Maiduguri could not hold back tears, yesterday, when they learnt that some of their villages came under deadly attacks .
At Chikwarkir village in Biu Local Government Area, a resident, Mallam Audu Zira told Vanguard on phone that the terrorists came in pick up vehicles and motorcycles and opened fire on people before setting houses, and other property ablaze.
He said after killing one person, the terrorists carted away foodstuffs and motorcycles before they fled into the bush.
All efforts to reach spokesman of the Borno State police command, DSP Gideon Jibrin proved abortive as his line was switched off at the time of this report.
Sen. Mohammed Ali Ndume, representing Borno South Senatorial District also confirmed the multiple attacks on Chibok villages, yesterday, in a telephone interview in Maiduguri. He said the Federal Government should do more by deploying more troops to the affected areas of Chibok to secure other villages from being attacked by Boko Haram insurgents.
“The military and other security agencies should do more by not only deploying more personnel, but cooperating fully with members of the Local Vigilante Group in fighting terrorism and insurgency in this part of the state. They know the terrains of Sambisa Forest and can track insurgents in their hideouts.
“The two should work as a team to end this Boko Haram insurgency that will clock five years by July 29, 2014”, Ndume said.
Chibok girls: US reduces surveillance flights
Meanwhile, the United States said weekend that it had reduced its surveillance flights in the search for more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram members on April 14 this year but added that the overall effort was unchanged due to more flights by other countries.
“We don’t have any better idea today than we did before about where these girls are, but there has been no let up of the effort itself”, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters. Kirby said the same level of effort was being sustained now through international involvement.
A U S defence official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters that US flights had been reduced only after a body of intelligence had been gathered and that the cuts had been offset by British and French support.