By Ndahi Marama
Maiduguri—The Department of State Services, DSS, and Nigeria Police Force said, yesterday, that last week’s Boko Haram attack on Magumeri, Borno State, which led to the death of over 20 persons, including some soldiers and policemen, occurred because the military ignored intelligence report that preceded the incident.
The indictment came as no fewer than eight persons, including five suicide bombers were, early yesterday, killed in multiple explosions in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Representatives of both security agencies made the allegation at a stakeholders’ meeting convened by Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, in the aftermath of the attack.
Shettima convened the meeting, following a statement credited to Army spokesman, Brigadier-General Sani Usman, who accused the locals of conniving with Boko Haram to launch attacks on troops.
DSS Head in Borno State, Mr. Tim Modalla, and representative of Criminal Investigation Bureau, CIB, of Nigeria Police, Bello Nuhu Haruna, pointedly accused the Commanding Officer of 8 Div, Capt. Kwaso, of not doing enough to avert the attack on Magumeri.
CIB representative in Borno, Haruna said: “On the day of the attack, the Commander of the troops in Magumeri, identified as Captain Kwaso, invited me for an update on the rumoured assemblage of Boko Haram fighters around the town.
“The Commanding officer, a Captain, invited me to his office in the morning of Wednesday, hours before the attack, asking for the details of the location where Boko Haram fighters were said to be assembling.
‘’I asked him to bring out the map from which I gave him all the necessary information about the terrorists’ locations. But I am not sure if anything was done in response to that before the attackers came.’’
Similarly, the DSS representative at Magumeri, Tim Modalla, who was also at the meeting, said the security was aware of the impending attack four days before it finally happened.
He said the DSS was aware Boko Haram fighters were gathering at a location not far from Maiduguri, adding that all necessary information was relayed to the military.
Modalla said he received intelligence report that Boko Haram members were gathering in some villages around Magumeri, and that they continued to shift their base closer by the day until they eventually stormed Magumeri with about 45 vehicles and a large number of motorcycles.
Having listened to the submissions of the DSS and Police, Governor Shettima, said he would contact the military authorities to place the Military Base in Magumeri Local Government Area under the control of General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Brigadier General Victor Izegwu, instead of relying on commands from 8 Div at Monguno.
He admitted that the infiltration and attack on Magumeri on March 15, 2017, by terrorists in a convoy of 45 vehicles, which led to the sacking of troops, with some personnel killed, was due to communication gap, since the Base is about 200km away from Monguno, compared to 7 Div in Maiduguri which is only 45km away, with good communication network.
He said his decision to summon all stakeholders to the meeting was to investigate allegations by the Army that residents of Magumeri connived with insurgents to attack troops.
Shettima said he was displeased by the comments credited to the spokesman of the Army, Sani Usman, whose claims as reported by the media, revealed that, “a number of people in Magumeri are still conniving and supporting activities of insurgents.”
Unfortunately, a number of soldiers and police personnel died in the attack.
Contacted for comments on the development, spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Sani Usman, a Brigadier General, reiterated his earlier claim that the locals were conniving with Boko Haram to attack troops, saying the Army had its facts and stood by them.
“Our position on Magumeri is not an indictment on the whole society but those who have been conniving with terrorists know themselves.
“We have our own facts and we are investigating the issue. We implore the people to understand that they need to support the military and other security forces, especially at this critical stage of the fight against insurgency and terrorism,” Usman stated.
8 killed in fresh Maiduguri suicide attacks
Meanwhile, eight persons, including five suicide bombers, were early, yesterday, killed in multiple explosions in Maiduguri.
At least 20 persons sustained various degrees of injuries in the attacks which occurred at about 4am.
A series of bomb blasts occurred in three locations around Muna Garage area of Maiduguri metropolis.
The first bomb set off by three suicide bombers at Muna Kumbori, an unofficial host community camp housing 199 internally displaced persons, led to the death of two other people, while the second at Muna Dagalti killed the bomber and another person.
The third occurred at Muersna Bulaya where the suicide bomber was the only casualty.
The 20 persons injured in the attacks were administered first aid by emergency response teams which later transported them to the state specialist hospital, while the remains of the dead were deposited in the mortuary.