Men believed to be members of the Boko Haram sect have again invaded the Borno villages of Ngoshe and Kaigamari, in Gwoza and Konduga Local Government Areas, respectively, killing 38 people.
The insurgents also set ablaze several houses and shops in addition to destroying mobile telecommunications masts in the area.
Ngoshe is located east of hilly Gwoza town, between Cameroon border with Nigeria, while Kaigamari is a remote settlement in Konduga, a town which has always been under the siege of the Boko Haram terrorists.
Gwoza is about 140 kilometres south, while Konduga is 40 kilometres drive from Maiduguri, the state capital.
It was gathered from a source that “the gunmen, armed with Improvised Explosive Devices, petrol bombs, AK 47 rifles and rocket propelled grenades invaded Ngoshe at about 10pm on Saturday and opened fire on the already sleeping and unarmed residents, killing 30 of them and inflicting injuries on several others, before setting ablaze some houses.”
Also in Kaigamari, no fewer than eight people were said to have been killed on Sunday when another set of gunmen attacked the village and torched some houses and shops.
An eyewitness, who said he was lucky to escape the attack in Ngoshe, Mallam Usman Jidda, told journalists in Maiduguri that the gunmen who were sighted some few days back in between the mountainous areas of Ngoshe and Limankara villages had a field day killing and destroying houses without being challenged by security operatives in the area.
“I thank God for sparing my life and those of the members of my family as we were able to escape the attack, we are now settling with one of my relatives in Gwoza council area. I can confirm to you that more than 30 people were killed by the insurgents in Ngoshe, apart from the destruction of property worth millions of naira,” Jidda stated.
The attack in Kaigamari village near the state capital was said to have forced surviving residents to flee the area to Maiduguri on Sunday.
The insurgents were also said to have attacked Hamsa in Gwoza Hills in Borno State.
Investigations revealed that the attackers came to the besieged area through Kwatara and encamped against the community at Tate.
The source said that the “operation started around 5pm on Saturday and lasted all through the night.”
Although, the source could not give the casualty figure in the latest attacks, it was stated that a relative of the leader of the Church of Christ in Nations in the area was among the dead.
But the Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said on the telephone on Sunday that the operation to flush out the insurgents in the Gwoza hills was still ongoing.
He stated that the area was very vast as it extends to Adamawa State and Cameroon.
He said, “The operation to flush out the insurgents is still going on; that place is very vast, the Special Forces have taken over a part of the hill; you know that it extends to Adamawa and, Cameroon…”
However, Olukolade said in a statement on Sunday that several makeshift insurgents’ camps in the forest and mountains had been dislodged in ongoing ground and aerial bombardments
He stated that the security forces had noted the “presence of unarmed members of terrorist groups in some villages.”
He said that the Special Forces had been directed to ensure aggressive patrol of local communities to complement the ongoing assault on the insurgents.
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, lamented on Sunday that the killings in the country under the guise of insurgency was spreading at an alarming rate.
The sultan, who spoke at the 50th Anniversary Lecture of the JNI in Kaduna on Sunday, asked the Federal Government to curb the ugly development.
He said, “We have discussed with government on the National Conference and how to make it a success. We don’t want another jamboree, we have been giving advice to our leaders it is left for them to take the advice or jettison them.
“Everyday we hear of people killed in different parts of the country. It is a nightmare that is spreading to parts of the country in the name of cattle rustling. We are worried about the Muslims, Christians and Fulani being killed because life is sacred.
“Why are we fighting one another in the name of ethnicity and religion; we should all go about our religion peacefully. Our non-Muslim brothers should join us to look at problems bedeviling the country and find solutions,” he said.
The Vice President, Namadi Sambo, assured that the Federal Government was doing all it could to arrest the ugly trend.
Sambo promised that the perceived imbalance raised by the Sultan would be addressed, noting that the government would ensure fairness and equity in all its dealings with Nigerians irrespective of religion.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Alhaji Lawal Tanko, said no candidate for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination on Saturday was killed in the state.
Tanko was reacting to an online report that 200 candidates were killed in one of the centres in Maiduguri by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria that “I was directly in charge of the police operations to ensure safety of the candidates in all the examination venues in Maiduguri.” Punch