Suspected Boko Haram gunmen have captured Gwoza town in Borno State, following last Wednesday’s multiple attacks on several houses, a police station, secretariat complex, including the torching of emir’s place.This is even as the Borno State Police Command yesterday banned public demonstrations in view of the security situation in the state.
The ban, according to a press statement from the office of the Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Gideon Jubrin, followed the attempted demonstrations of Gwoza people to the Government House, Maiduguri over last Wednesday’s Gwoza attacks and killings by suspected Boko Haram gunmen.
Gwoza is a council headquarters, and 132 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, the state capital.
The capturing, according to Hodo Vurho, a resident of Gwoza who fled to Maiduguri yesterday said the insurgent group “adopted a new strategy by sparing all women and children of Gwoza from being killed, and used them as ‘human shields’ in case troops of 7 Division of Nigerian Army attempt to recapture the border town.
He said since the missing of the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Mohammed Idrissa Timta during the attack, the insurgents have continued to hoist the Boko Haram black flags at the torched palace and three other locations of the town, including three villages on the Bama-Gwoza road.
“When the insurgents struck last Wednesday, some of us fled, while others were shot dead, but I was able to flee by climbing the hill, and then descended to take a footpath that leads to Maiduguri to tell you what is happening in Gwoza,” said Vurho yesterday.
“After torching our emir’s palace and several houses, including the council secretariat complex, the insurgents continued to separate women and children from the male adults by shooting and slaughtering them at sight. And in that dangerous situation, we had to flee for safety, until one of my neighbours called me that Gwoza has been taken over by Boko Haram gunmen,” explained Vurho.
On whether there were soldiers in Gwoza, Vurho said:“On Wednesday when we were attacked along with the emir, some soldiers fled to take cover along the main road to Mubi and Bama. But the following morning, Thursday, we heard that the gunmen were freely moving with their rifles, along with some women and children, as human shields, in case the soldiers may come to repel the insurgents from Gwoza town.”
Our Correspondent also learnt that the 135-kilometre road is a “no go area” to motorists and other travellers, as several people were either attacked or killed, while plying the road since early this year.
Speaking on the protest yesterday by fleeing women from Gwoza at Government House, Maiduguri, Governor Kashim Shettima, assured that security will be provided for their return to the border town with Cameroon.
“Insecurity has seriously affected all of us here in this state. It is sad and terrifying that you had to flee for many kilometres to Maiduguri with fears and anguish of loss lives and property since the insurgents attacked your town severally. What I can do for you now is to provide you with soldiers and police so that you return to your respective communities that are under siege by insurgents,” said Shettima.
Meanwhile, the Borno State Police Command yesterday banned public demonstrations in view of the security situation in the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP, Gideon Jibrin, in press statement also said such intending demonstrations were capable of causing disharmony, anarchy and pandemonium in Borno State.
The statement reads in part: “It has come to the notice of Borno State Police Command that some group of persons are intending to embark on demonstration anchored on the current security situation in the state. The general public is being reminded that they are under obligation to obey the State of Emergency imposed.