A SOLDIER guarding the home of a general was one of the casualties of Tuesday night’s Boko Haram’s attack on Bama, Borno State, it was learnt yesterday.Borno State Police Commissioner Lawal Tanko said General Umar Tukur Buratai was not at home during the attack.“The soldiers succeeded in repelling the attacks on Buratai, resulting in minimal damage,” he said, confirming that one soldier was killed. He did not give further details.The Borno State Government said yesterday that last Saturday’s attack by Boko Haram insurgents in Izge, Gwoza Local Government Area, was not targeted at any religious group.Governor Kashim Shettima stated this during a sympathy visit to the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Timta, in Gwoza.Shettima urged Nigerians to see the Boko Haram sect as a common enemy rather than a religious group, going by its destruction.“The report on alleged mass killing of Christians in Izge is untrue because Izge is a predominant Muslim community and most of the victims are Muslims.“What is happening is not an ethnic or religious war.
Boko Haram is a clear madness that must be condemned by all Nigerians,” he said.The governor said the government would rebuild structures destroyed by the sect despite the state’s meagre resources.“We will make genuine efforts to rebuild the structures destroyed, including places of worship despite our meager resources.“What has happened to you is a disaster that affects the Borno people. We pray that God will grant the fortitude to those who lost their lives.”He said that the government would pay N1million compensation on a place of worship destroyed during the attack and N200,000 for each family that lost their loves one.The emir, who praised Shettima for the visit, painted a gloomy picture of what he and his people had been going through in the hands of the insurgents.“It is a known fact that we suffer problem of Boko Haram attack in our communities on daily basis here.“We appreciate government’s efforts in assisting the victims, especially the personal efforts of the governor.“Gwoza is one of the worst-hit areas by the Boko Haram attacks.“Few months back, they attempted to attack my palace, but it was impossible, so they vent their anger on my farm, destroying everything, including the plantations.“Every day, we live in fear of fresh attacks as individuals get killed now and then. We pray that God will help bring the attacks to an end,” Alhaji Timta said.He urged the Federal Government to explore new security avenues in tackling the Boko Haram attacks.
Shettima was at the Presidential Villa also yesterday to brief President Goodluck Jonathan on the attack in Bama.He said: “Do I need your consent to come and see my President? He is the President of Nigeria and I need to update him adequately on the goings-on in the state.“There was an attack on Bama. We are yet to get the actual number of casualties but I am told they have inflicted a lot of damage on the town; otherwise the military are doing their best.”On whether he was summoned to the Villa, Shettima said: “I came on my own. He is the President of Nigeria, for God’s sake. Why can’t I come and update him? Is it wrong or is it a crime to do so.”He declined to comment on presidential spokesman Doyin Okupe’s criticism of his statement on the incapability of the military to battle the sect. “I don’t want to comment. He is our President and I am here to update him on the goings on in Bama and I don’t want to make additional comments,” Shettima said.
by: Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja