The terrorist Islamic sect, Boko Haram, on Monday night killed about 300 people in Gamboru Ngala, Borno State. Gamboru Ngala is a border town with Cameroon.
The Boko Haram insurgents also abducted 11 more girls in Warabe and Wala communities in the Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State late on Monday.
The insurgents reportedly drove into Gamboru Ngala in armoured vehicles.
It was learnt that the insurgents, who seemed to have targeted a local market, shot sporadically at traders at the market before proceeding into the town to wreak more havoc.
Gamboru is situated along Nigeria-Cameroon border and is the administrative headquarters of the Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State. It is about 200 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital city.
Senator Ahmed Zannah, who is representing the area in the Senate, confirmed the killings. He said the invaders spent about 12 hours wreaking havoc on defenceless Nigerians.
He revealed that several other persons were injured in the attack, while almost all the houses and shops in the town were burnt down.
The senator, who spoke in a BBC Hausa report monitored in Maiduguri on Tuesday, said many people were wounded, while surviving victims rendered homeless as thousands of houses and shops were burnt by the rampaging gunmen.
He claimed that the attackers were armed with dangerous weapons comprising Armoured Personnel Carrier, Improvised Explosive Devices, petrol bombs, assault rifles and Rocket Propelled Launchers.
“The attackers stormed the communities in the night when residents were still sleeping, setting ablaze houses and shooting residents who tried to escape from the fire,’’ he said.
He added, “About 300 persons were confirmed dead after the incident, with several others injured. Almost all the houses in the communities were destroyed by the hoodlums who threw IEDs at the buildings.
“My brother who was at the scene of the attack told me that the actual number of the dead cannot be ascertained but at least they are up to 300. In fact, as he spoke he wept following the high number of the dead bodies which littered the market.”
According to him, the security forces earlier deployed in the area, had moved to the Lake Chad axis when they received intelligence report that some gunmen were sighted with abducted schoolgirls moving to the area.
“It was just an hour after their withdrawal that the terrorists invaded the town, shooting everyone at sight and setting buildings on fire. So far 200 vehicles and thousands of houses, shops and an outfit of the Nigerian Customs Service, (NCS) were all burnt”, he explained.
The 11 girls were reportedly seized in Warabe and Wala when gunmen invaded the communities.
Warabe is about 160 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the state capital.
The community is located on the outskirts of Gwoza town, which had witnessed a series of deadly attacks by suspected terrorists in recent times.
Police sources and residents confirmed the kidnapping of the girls, said to be aged between 12 and 15.
The seizure of the 11 girls came as the world body, the United Nations, warned the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, against selling the about 200 girls kidnapped from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
Shekau on Monday released a video in which he claimed that the girls, abducted from their hostels on April 14, were in his custody and threatened to sell them because he believed the pupils should not be in school but in their husbands’ houses.
The UN, according to a report by Reuters, warned Boko Haram that selling the girls would be tantamount to slavery, a practice prohibited by international law.
The UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, at a news briefing in Geneva, said, “We warn the perpetrators that there is an absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law. These can under certain circumstances constitute crimes against humanity.
“That means anyone responsible can be arrested, charged, prosecuted and jailed at any time in the future. So just because they think they are safe now, they won’t necessarily be in two years, five years or 10 years’ time.”
Any buyer could also be held liable, Colville said, noting that enslaved girls were likely to be exposed to “continuous physical, psychological, economic and sexual violence” and that forced marriage could have a “devastating” impact on victims.
“The power differentials between girls and their ‘spouses’ are likely to undermine all autonomy, all freedom of will and expression of the girls. The situation they will be in will be tantamount to slavery, or slavery-like practices within the so-called marriage,” he said.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, had written to President Goodluck Jonathan on April 28, urging him to spare no effort to ensure the girls’ safe return.
Any rescue attempt must be made in line with international human rights standards, Colville said, noting previous “allegations of excessive use of force by the Nigerian military in anti-Boko Haram operations.”
The girls were picked from their school by insurgents dressed in army uniform and drove trucks painted in military colour. – Punch.