- kills scores in Maiduguri
- I’ll crush them – President
Barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to rout the insurgent Boko Haram sect from the North-East, members of the sect yesterday attacked Maiduguri in Borno State and left scores dead.
This is coming as President Buhari yesterday reinstated his commitment to rid the country of the insurgents.
During his swearing-in as President on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that his immediate concern is the Boko Haram insurgency and ordered the Army Command Centre to relocate to Maiduguri.
Buhari, who called Boko Haram insurgents, “a mindless, godless group, who are as far away from Islam as one can think of”, declared, “We are going to tackle them head on and intensify the fight against Boko Haram. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us.”
However, while Buhari was just settling down at the presidential villa, suspected Boko Haram terrorists carried out two attacks on the Borno State capital.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday gathered that in the first attack the suspected terrorists attempted to invade the town at about 12:30 a.m., leading to exchange of fire between them and troops of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army.
The terrorists stormed the town with bombs and other ammunitions.
It was learnt that the explosions from rocket propelled launchers and grenade with sporadic gunfire also left several injured and houses destroyed.
Sources said, “The terrorists after receiving heavy fire power from troops, started firing their rocket launchers into the city, which led to the killing of a taxi driver, Mallam Bukar around Borehole area of Gomari airport of Maiduguri metropolis, while the three other residents died at different locations.”
Unconfirmed reports also claimed that 10 persons were killed in the areas that were attacked.
Sources confirmed that the terrorists attacked from the Ajilari Cross and Bintu Sugar areas of the town and that the soldiers quickly responded and engaged them before they could advance and overrun the town.
The source added that the fight lasted for about two hours, subsiding at about 2.50am.
“The insurgents were successfully repelled after heavy shelling, gunshots and explosions. They fled into the dark towards the direction they came from,” he said.
He could not however ascertain the number of casualties.
A resident of Gomari, part of Maiduguri , which is in the same neighborhood with Bintu Sugar, Ibrahim Iliya, who spoke to our correspondents on the telephone, said five residents of the area were killed in the attempted invasion.
Iliya said a stray bullet killed a man who was sleeping in the open as a result of the harsh weather.
He revealed that four people were killed in a house which was affected by the explosion in the area.
A resident of Gomari area of Maiduguri near the composite air force base, one Masami Kolomi told our correspondent, “Since around 12 midnight they started hearing bomb blasts and later shots of rocket launchers or RPG passing over roofs and some hitting people’s houses resulting in several killings and injuries of housewives and youths who were sleeping within the courtyard due to heat”.
A woman who lives at Bulunkutu Tsakiya behind Borno Holiday Inn, Missouri, told out correspondent, “we were about to sleep after showing live the presidential gala night programme on NTA and network news when we started hearing strange sounds very heavy like bombs and few minutes later we started hearing rockets or RPG passing over the roofing.
“Our neighbours were killed and houses destroyed. The whole building collapsed on seven people killing all of them. None of them survived. We are now waiting for their relations and family members to commence their burial according to Muslim rites.”
One Junaidu Ahmad, a trader living around Galtimari Ward told our correspondent that” due to the Buhari celebration we did not sleep and all of us were chatting outside under a tree when we heard and saw a flashy object moving over the tree coming from Ajilari cross area, near the airport.
He said the object, which hit his wife and killed a young boy, touched the house of a teacher simply identified as Yusuf, in Gomari.
At Ajilari and Dala in the outskirts of Maiduguri, about five people died in the attack while several houses were destroyed.
A resident of Dala area, one Ustaz Mai Ari Dlala, said the rockets hit over seven houses and killed about five people including women.
The second attack on Maidguguri happened in the afternoon when a huge explosion rocked a Mosque located inside a market in Maiduguri , killing many people.
The explosion occurred at about 3:30p.m while Muslim traders where observing the late afternoon prayers.
Witnesses said the bomb went off seconds after worshippers commenced their congregational prayers.
The exact number of fatalities in the second attack is unclear but it is feared it will be several dozen as the mosque and its vicinity was filled up when the explosion occurred.
Reacting to the latest attack, President Buhari said in a statement signed by head of the media in APC Campaign Organisation, Mallam Garba Shehu, that his administration meant business in its determination to tackle Boko Haram violence.
The President described terrorists as “cowardly murderers that target innocent people”, saying their activities will have no place in a country where he is Commander-in-Chief.
While calling for increased vigilance by local communities, President Buhari assured that his administration would give security close attention, and that his government was committed to boosting the morale of our armed forces by effectively funding them and attending to their welfare.
He condoled the families of the victims of the latest terrorist attack and assured them that the worst days of these criminal elements will be over soon.