No fewer than 31 suspected terrorists and a member of the youth vigilance group, popularly called ‘Civilian JTF’, were killed yesterday in a clash which erupted in Zagardajeri village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Our correspondent gathered that the incident, which occurred about 1p.m., forced some residents of the village to flee the area, turning the village to a ‘ghost town’.
A resident, who did not want his name mentioned, said that some Boko Haram sect members were sighted by some ‘Civilian JTF’ in London Ciki ward of the metropolis and swung into action, ostensibly to arrest them.
But the suspected terrorists, noticing that they were about to be arrested, started shooting sporadically at the ‘Civilian JTF’ while running to Zagardajeri village where they took refuge in some of the houses belonging to the residents.
Zagardajeri, according to the source, is one of the strongholds of the sect identified by the Joint Task Force, JTF.
The source said that the vigilance youths later mobilised and headed for Zagardajeri. On getting there, they started a search for the suspected terrorists who infiltrated the community, but they were directed by residents to seek the authority of the village head of Zagardajeri before they could arrest anybody.
While this was going on, the suspected terrorists in the village mobilised immediately with arms and ammunition and started shooting at the youths, killing one of them and injuring another.
Realising that the terrorists had superior fire power, the ‘Civilian JTF’ ran through the bush to Maiduguri and informed the JTF about the incident.
Members of the task force immediately mobilised to the area and confronted the terrorists in a gun duel, which led to the killing of about 30 of them and setting their houses ablaze.
The source added that the JTF succeeded in arresting the village head with AK47 rifles in his possession after he allegedly confessed that some of his subjects were given N100,000 each with new AK47 rifles to fight for the cause of Islam in the state.
In a related development, heavily armed gunmen suspected to be terrorists on Tuesday night opened fire on Kaura police station in Kaduna State, killing one police officer and left many other critically injured.
An eyewitness said the incident happened when gunmen in a vehicle attacked the police station, forcing many officers to run into the bush for safety.
Kaura, one of the local government areas in southern part of Kaduna State, has witnessed series of bloody attacks by yet- to-beidentified gunmen.
Kaduna State Police Public Relations Officer, Mallam Aminu Lawan, confirmed the incident.
He said: “Unknown gunmen exchanged gunshots with our men in Kaura police station. Unfortunately, one of our officers died while one sustained injury. The injured police officer is receiving medical treatment.
“We are on top of the situation; a manhunt for the attackers is ongoing. The situation is calm and people are going about their normal businesses.
“We call on the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious person or group of persons to security agencies for prompt action.”