Fourteen soldiers, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Hassan Thlama of Buni Yadi Division and the station’s Divisional Crime Officer, DCO, and 12 civilians were among the victims of Boko Haram attacks in Yobe and Borno state yesterday.
The terrorists launched their attacks in Buni Yadi, Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State and Chinene village in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State.
Buni Yadi is about 55 kilometres from Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, and had witnessed several attacks,
particularly one on the Federal Government College, which claimed the lives of over 55 students sleeping in their dormitories.
Our correspondent gathered that the terrorists, using Hilux vehicles with military camouflage, Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, petrol bombs and Rocket Propelled Launchers, invaded Buni Yadi from 5pm to 9pm on Monday, targeting security formations in the town.
The attackers were also said to have come with Armoured Personnel Carriers, APCs, and were reported to have told residents not to panic as they did not come for them.
They subsequently bombarded the Nigerian Army and police formations in the town, leading to the killing of 14 soldiers and 11 policemen, including the DPO and the DCO.
They also destroyed many government properties, including the Magistrate’s Court, the local government secretariat, several vehicles and the palace of the Emir.
A top security source in Damaturu, who confirmed the incident, said: “The gunmen took all the security operatives in Buni Yadi unawares and wreaked havoc on mostly policemen and soldiers.”
He confirmed that apart from 11 policemen and 14 soldiers killed, two persons suspected to be civilians who were caught up in the crossfire also died.
A resident, Mallam Jubrin Usmanu, told our correspondent that the gunmen came for security operatives only, as they did not attack residents.
He said that only those who might have been hit by stray bullets while trying to escape from the deadly attacks, died during the invasion.
Usmanu added that the attackers asked residents of the Emir’s palace to move out before the place was set on fire.
Another security source said bodies of the victims were first evacuated to the General Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in Damaturu before they were moved to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital mortuary for identification and claim by their relatives yesterday.
Those injured, he added, are currently receiving treatment at different hospitals in Damaturu and Maiduguri.
Efforts to speak with the spokesman of the military operatives in Damaturu, Lt. Eli Lazarus, were unsuccessful as at the time of going to press.
Eight people were also killed when some terrorists, using motorcycles and armed with AK-47 rifles, stormed Chinene village of Chikidr-Joghode-Kaghum ward of Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State.
During the attack, two churches, shops and residential houses were set ablaze.
Chinene village, a border community with Cameroun, is about 130 kilometres drive from Maiduguri.
The insurgents, according to sources, also hoisted their flags in Ashigashiya Ward and other hilly border villages with Cameroun and are currently celebrating what they now claimed as their strongholds.
A resident, Mr. Joshua Jidda, told our correspondent that the gunmen invaded Chinene, about 2am yesterday and opened fire on sleeping residents, killing eight people, including an old woman in her 80s.
He gave the names of those killed to include Bulama Dajiba, Bulama John, Haruna Kwatha, Haruna Wadda, Births Kurma, Haruna Waruda and Shaibu Galva.
“Some terrorists came to our community yesterday evening when we were asleep, they shouted Allahu Akbar in Arabic, meaning God is great and shot sporadically at fleeing residents, killing eight people, while two of our members sustained gunshot injuries.
“They had a field day as we cannot confront them when all of them were carrying AK-47 rifles and petrol bombs. After the killing, they later went to our two churches and set them ablaze, including some shops and residential houses.
“As I am talking to you now, we are yet to bury the dead as most people have fled the area for fear of further attacks.
“We are destabilised as if we don’t have a government or security in place. It is worrisome indeed,” he said.
An official of the local government, Nglamuda Ibrahim, told journalists in Maiduguri, that the people of the area were still trapped.
Ibrahim said information available showed that the gunmen were preparing to launch another round of offensive from their hideout.
He said: “As we speak now, I am still receiving distress calls from them.
“They were all crying and calling for help.
“No soldier or police official had gone there yet.
“The Boko Haram gunmen mounted their flags in Ashigashiya, which is now like their headquarters.
“In last night’s attack, six churches were burnt, eight persons were killed and several others seriously injured.
“We cannot count the number of houses that were burnt in Chinene village of Chikide-Joghode-Kaghum Ward.
“They also attacked Amuda village where one person was killed and several others injured.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Gideon Jubrin, could not be reached as all his phone numbers were switched off, but a top police source confirmed the deadly attacks in Chinene.
Meanwhile, an 18-yearold man, Abba Saiva, and another unidentified person were yesterday killed when some suspected members of Boko Haram sect ambushed some motorists from Warabe village of Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State.
Our correspondent gathered that the gunmen laid ambush in Wakane ward between Warabe village about 8:45am and opened fire on one of the vehicles conveying some passengers to Maiduguri, killing Mallam Abba and the other person.