By Ndahi Marama
Maiduguri—No fewer than six persons were killed, Tuesday evening, as Boko Haram insurgents opened fire on the convoy of Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, who was on his way to a political rally at Gamboru-Ngala.
The attack was said to have occurred as some armed Boko Haram insurgents in three gun truck vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft guns and motorcycles laid ambush on the convoy at about 6 pm, and divided the governor’s long convoy into two, raining bullets on vehicles at the back of the convoy.
Among those killed were a soldier and a member of Usman Zannah Campaign Forum, Mallam Baggidos Usmanu, while several others suffered injuries.
Scores of people, mainly women,were also said to have been abducted by the insurgents during the attack.
Usman Zannah is candidate for Magumeri, Gubio and Kaga Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, in Saturday’s elections.
Some members of the Civilian Joint Task Force , CJTF, who were in the convoy, but returned to Maiduguri at about 6:25pm on yesterday, confirmed the deadly ambush on the governor’s convoy.
The CJTF operatives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attack took place on Tuesday evening between Gajibo Village and Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area, a border community with Cameron Republic.
They said the governor and the gubernatorial candidate of the APC in Borno State, Professor Babagana Zulum, were among other candidates and party supporters in the convoy at the time of the attack.
A CJTF source said: “We were involved in Boko Haram ambush when we were escorting the governor to Ngala yesterday (Tuesday) evening.
“Unfortunately, two people were killed instantly, but other corpses were recovered in the area of the attack while we were returning after the campaign/rally.
“Also, a soldier (names withheld) who fought gallantry to repel the attack was shot in his head and he died.
“Many people, suspected to be supporters of the APC, including women and youths, were abducted or are still missing. The attackers also went away with one of our Hilux operational vehicle of Sector 9 during the attack.”
The governor is also a senatorial candidate, whose district includes Gamboru Ngala. The town is about 160km from Maiduguri, the state capital and a stone-throw to Kala Balge, where a number of humanitarian workers, security operatives and civilians were killed and abducted during series of Boko Haram attacks.
Survivors give accounts
A source, who simply gave his name as Abdullahi Adam Yau, who claimed to be among the lucky survivors, told Vanguard that he had God to thank for sparing his life in the attack.
He said the vehicle he was in was next to the one conveying Usmanu who was killed by the insurgents.
Confirming the attack, Usman Zannah, told Vanguard on telephone that one of his supporters, Baggidos Usmanu, who hailed from Askira Uba Local Government Area of the state, was killed in the attack.
Zannah described the deceased as very a humble and trustworthy individual that would be missed by his campaign Forum.
The deputy governor of the state, Usman Durkwa, who was not on the trip, however, said he could not confirm the attack.
“I am hearing it as rumour. I’m yet to get report on the attacks of the governor’s convoy. They are yet to return from campaign rally in Mafa, Dikwa and Gamboru, a border town with Cameroon,’’ he said.
Gov’s aide confirms attack
But confirming the attack last night, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Isa Gusau, said six vehicles in the governor’s convoy were ambushed, saying three people were killed.
He said in a statement last night: ‘’Six vehicles in Governor Kashim Shettima’s convoy were on Tuesday evening ambushed by Boko Haram fighters along the road to a border town of Gamboru, headquarters of Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State.
“Three persons died, while a soldier sustained injuries. Other persons fled and escaped unhurt. The insurgents carted away the six vehicles they attacked. “The vehicles were the last part of the governor’s convoy on their way to a political rally.
“The governor had passed before the insurgents took advantage of the dust from desert area to launch attack. Information about the attack wasn’t confirmed until late night as those behind were thought to have also joined the rally since the convoy drove into the rally.
“The governor passed the night in Gamboru after the rally. Gamboru was one of the areas occupied by Boko Haram before it was liberated by tough multinational forces from Chad.
“The governor had departed Maiduguri on Tuesday morning, stopped over in Mafa and Dikwa local government areas for campaign rallies.
“On his way back on Wednesday, he stopped in Dikwa to meet with military commands over the attack.”