President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said the end of Boko Haram insurgency was in sight despite the horrendous attack on early morning worshippers by two suspected suicide bombers (a male and a female) at a mosque in Molai-Umarari, about five kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, in which 26 people were killed.
He said that with the current renewed determination of the Nigerian security agencies, coupled with the regional and international attention, the sect would be defeated.
In a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina yesterday, the President commiserated with families of the victims. He said “the condemnable and reprehensible” attack on a place of worship by perpetrators who pretended to be worshippers, has once again exposed them as mere criminals who have no place among civilized people.
The President who commended the security agencies and care givers for their prompt deployment to the area and reaffirmed that those who perpetrate, finance, organise and sponsor these reprehensible acts of terrorism will not escape punishment. He implored Nigerians to continue to remain vigilant and cooperate with the relevant government agencies to defeat the enemy.
Military sources and residents said about two dozens of worshippers were killed while praying. “A male and a female suicide bombers suspected to be Boko Haram members joined the worshippers in the early hours of Wednesday prayers at Molai-Umarari mosque, and later detonated their improvised explosive devices while the worshippers were praying,” a source said.
A top military source and rescue official in Maiduguri, also from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told The Guardian that 22 bodies had already been evacuated from the blast scene and taken to an hospital morgue.
Governor Kashim Shettima has visited and condole with the villagers, praising them for exhibiting gallantry by not fleeing their community because of the attacks.
He assured the villagers that the mosque would be secured by building a perimeter fence with a locking system to prevent any future attacks from terrorists.
The village head, Modu Ba Mallum attributed yesterday’s mosque attack to the replacement of military commander last week and lack of patrol vehicles to the 70 vigilante youths assigned to patrol the village for 24 hours.
Confirming the incident, the Nigerian Army said the twin attack, which went off within a few minutes interval, was targeted at a crowd of worshippers in a mosque located in the area.
In a statement confirming the attack, the acting Director Army Public Relations (DAPR), Colonel Sani Usman said “22 people were killed and 18 others sustained various degrees of injuries when the first attack targeted (at) a mosque (occurred), while the second blast went off about 50 metres away, a few minutes later”.
While promising that the military will not rest on its oars to bring the perpetrators and masterminds of these crimes to justice, Usman said the troops, security agents and care givers have been mobilized to the scene, as the wounded have been evacuated to an hospital for medical attention. He said soldiers and other security operatives, in collaboration with the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), have secure the area and are combing the environment for possible clues.
Also yesterday, the Army confirmed that it has recovered its Armoured Personnel Carrier earlier captured by Boko Haram, when they (insurgents) launched an attack at Buni Yadi, Yobe state last year.