Borno State are yet to see the end of insurgency in the state as a Boko Haram troop of about 300 members invaded a town in the state, Magumeri town, in northern part of Borno State on Wednesday evening, setting ablaze a military facilities, police station and part of the town.
A member of youth vigilance group, who spoke anonymously to our correspondent, said the insurgency group caught the soldiers guarding the town by surprise.
He also stated that the soldiers had to retreat after initial exchange of gunfire, giving the insurgents the opportunity to loot and lay waste the town.
The civilians were said to have taken to their heels as soon as the strong team of the insurgents arrived the town at about 5:30pm Wednesday.
He said; “They (insurgents) came in at least six Toyota Hilux vehicle, 10 motorcycles and some on foot.
“They were over 300 Boko Haram as soon as they came into the town, they began shooting and the soldiers countered back but were overpowered with most of the soldiers fleeing.
“This gave the insurgents opportunity to loot and burn the barracks to ashes as well as the police station.”
He added that the casualty figure was still unknown.
He, however, said that the military reinforced from Gubio and Maiduguri and had the town clear of the marauding insurgents.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, confirmed the attack on Magumeri in two separate press releases.
In the first release, he said: “Troops of 8 Task Force Division, Operation LAFIYA DOLE have thwarted an attack of Magumeri town, Borno State Wednesday evening.
“The terrorists who came with some vehicles at about 6.00pm attempted to set the town ablaze and kill the residents but the timely intervention of the troops prevented that mishap.
“The troops have neutralised quite a number of the attackers and those that escaped with gun shot wounds are being pursued.
“So far, the troops have recovered three vehicles and large quantity of arms and ammunition.”
He promised to give you further details on the pursuit and mop up operation.
This details he later gave in the second release where he stated that: “Please recall that suspected Boko Haram terrorists attempted to unleash mayhem on Magumeri town, Magumeri Local Government Area, Borno State yesterday (Wednesday) evening. The timely intervention of the military thwarted the attack.
“While troops are still consolidating and mopping up, it is imperative to state that preliminary investigation shows that the attackers of Magumeri came from the same community. The terrorists that attack the village are well known to the people.
“It should also be noted that the village was never attacked throughout the period of the insurgency for some inexplicable reasons. The terrorists and their collaborators hibernating in the area were never exposed. There seems to be an unholy alliance between the terrorists and the villagers.”
He added that: “Consequently, we are constrained to state that it’s now high time for the people to take up the fight themselves and help the Nigerian military and other security agencies to protect them. It is a grievous mistake and criminal offence to continue to shield or harbour any known Boko Haram terrorist in their midst.
“The terrorists must be exposed and their movements promptly reported to the security agencies. The terrorists are inhuman and barbaric, therefore cannot be trusted to spare anyone in perpetuating their inhuman acts.”
He further said: “It is imperative that all communities in the North East especially Borno State, should fully cooperate with the military and the Security agencies by exposing Boko Haram terrorists in their respective towns and villages.”
Also confirming the attack, the Public Relations Office of the Borno State Police Command, Victor Isuku, a deputy superintendent of police, revealed in a statement that one police officer deployed to quell the attack was lost and another shot on the leg by the insurgents.
Isuku, in the statement, said: “Yesterday evening, information was received that Magumeri town was under attack by Boko Haram terrorist elements.
“On receipt of the report, teams of FSARS and EOD personnel were quickly mobilized to the scene. A mobile police Sgt. Haliru Aliyu deployed with the military in Magumeri on special duty was killed while one Sgt. Lawrence Ayeni sustained gunshot injury on his leg and is currently at the military hospital receiving treatment.”
He added that: “A water tanker and a bus belonging to Magumeri LGA, and two other civilian vehicles were burnt. Military reinforcement from Damasak town to Maiduguri, engaged the escaping Boko Haram terrorists and recovered one Toyota Hilux vehicle mounted with Anti-aircraft gun from the terrorists.”
( Punch Nigeria )