Members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect may have killed 19 people in Borno State on Sunday.
AFP reported that the insurgents who were dressed in military uniforms and wielding AK 47 assault rifles killed the 19 motorists by blocking the highway near Logumani which is 19 kilometres from the nation’s border with Cameroun.
It was stated that while the insurgent who were riding on motorcycles shot five of the victims to death, the rest 14 were slaughtered.
The leader of the Civilian JTF in the area, Musa Abur, was quoted as having said that those shot included two truck drivers and their assistants.
Abu also told the international news agency that the rampaging Islamists also burnt down two trucks.
“We have recovered 19 dead bodies from the scene of the attack by Boko Haram gunmen
“Five of the victims, who included two truck drivers and their assistants, were shot dead while the rest were slaughtered,” Abur was quoted as having said.
But the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, told our correspondent on the telephone that the casualty figure from the said attack was exaggerated.
By his account, the insurgents blocked a vehicle conveying foodstuffs between Gamboru Ngala and Dikwa and killed four people.
Attahiru said that the incident was reported to the Special Forces who engaged the insurgents in a shoot out and killed some of them.
He did not give the number of insurgents killed in the operation insisting that the Special Forces were still on their trail.
He said, “The casualty is exaggerated. A vehicle was conveying foodstuffs, and it was stopped by the Boko Haram members between Dikwa and Gamboru Ngala; they killed four people in the vehicle.
“The attack occurred at Dikwa and Gamboru Ngala on Sunday. The incident was reported at our operational base and Special Forces engaged them killing some of the fleeing insurgents.
“I can’t give you the exact number of those killed on the side of the insurgent because they (Special Forces) are still after them but I can confirm that four civilians were killed.”
However, a survivor of the attack identified as Buba stated that the gunmen blocked the road near Logumani and ordered everybody in the vehicles to lie face down around 5am before shooting and slaughtering the motorists.
He said that the insurgents numbering nine were forced to abandon some lucky victims and escaped with their motorcycles into the bush when somebody alerted security operatives of the incident.
“We were asked to get out of our vehicles and lie face down by nine men dressed as soldiers who blocked the road around 5:00 am.”
“They shot dead five people and went about slaughtering 14 others before someone called them on the phone that soldiers were heading their way.
“They abandoned the rest of us and sped into the bush on their motorcycles,” Buba was quoted as having said.
It was stated that members of the Boko Haram sect had carried out recurrent attacks in villages and communities close to the nation’s border with Cameroun recently.
The insurgents reportedly carried out an attack at Gamboru Ngala, near Logumani but were chased away by soldiers and local vigilantes on Friday before the Sunday attack.
The survivor explained that the men in military uniform were given away as insurgents by their beards different from troops of the Nigerian Army who don’t have such beards.
“We knew they were Boko Haram from their appearance. Soldiers don’t wear beards but some of the gunmen were bearded.
“Everyone in this area knows Boko Haram is on the prowl, raiding villages and attacking vehicles. It has become a common occurrence,” he said.