69 killed as Boko Haram attacks Borno community
Nigerian Army speaks on daring Boko Haram attack on military base, neighboring communities
At least 69 persons were reportedly killed after armed men suspected to be Boko Haram members attacked communities in Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State between Tuesday and the early hours of Wednesday.
Residents of the attacked communities are mostly herders who have over the years resisted Boko Haram hostilities.
A local security source who confirmed this to PREMIUM TIMES said the attack happened on Tuesday afternoon at about 12.30 p.m.
“It was like a genocide because the gunmen simply opened fire on both the residents and their livestock.
“We counted a total of 69 corpses, mostly matured men and children,” the source, a top Civilian-JTF personnel, Mala Bunu, said.
He said nearly 1200 cows belonging to the villagers were rustled.
How the attack happened
Mr Bunu said the villagers were confronted by the Boko Haram insurgents at a location “where they usually water their animals.”
He said the attack was like a retaliation for the death of two Boko Haram members “whom the villagers managed to kill when the insurgents attempted to attack them about two months ago.”
“Ever before now, the Boko Haram usually go to harass the villagers, forcing them to pay illegal tax and levies which they forcibly collect by taking away some of their livestock,” he said.
But over time, he said, the villagers began to resist the extortion, “and would effectively repel the insurgents who used to go to the villages in few numbers.”
“On Tuesday, the herders from the Gubio village called Zowo, went to a watering station at Foduma Kolowombe, where the government had drilled a borehole that provides water for both residents and animals, to water their animals. Usually, the traditional time to water animals was at noon. So as they were busy watering the animals, Boko Haram insurgents arrived at the borehole station in three gun trucks and began to harass the herders.
“Because they normally go to water the animals in large numbers, the herders tried to resist the insurgents. In the process, the armed gunmen opened fire on them and other persons at the scene.
“They did not spare even some of the livestock. Each time the overpowered herders attempted to take cover under a cow, the insurgents would open fire on both the person and the animal, and in the process over 100 cows were also killed.
“We arrived at the scene about two hours after the insurgents had left with over 1200 cows. We met women and children crying over the littered corpses of their relatives.”
The source said “an airforce fighter jet hovered over the area and left without firing a shot at the fleeing insurgents who were less than an hour away”.
‘Insurgents returned this morning’
Mr Bunu said the insurgents returned to the attacked village at about 6 a.m. Wednesday to kill one of the herdsmen who escaped the water point massacre using a horse.
“They returned at 6 a.m. to trace one of the herders, shot him dead, and then set the entire village ablaze before they left,” he said.
“As I am talking to you now, the village is still smoking.”
Confirming the incident, the head of a coalition of civil society groups in Borno, Ahmed Shehu, described the situation as “sad and barbaric.”
Mr Shehu reacted to the incident in a statement obtained by PREMIUM TIMES from the official CSO Forum WhatsApp handle.
“That was a piece of very sad news, it seems like we are going back to the old days of the insurgent killing and abducting soft target in villages and along major roads, ” he said.
“Of recent Northern Borno route has become a no go area…as the insurgents will mount a roadblock, screen commuters, and kidnap humanitarian workers only.
“Last week, five people were kidnapped through the same process, among them was Abdurahman, a SEMA Camp Chairman in Monguno, whose wedding day was fixed for last Sunday and three others.
“On Sunday, the route was attacked again and commuters were assembled and strategically engaged in video-recorded discussions by the insurgents for almost an hour.
“From the information available civil servants and teachers documents were seized and later returned and about four people were abducted. There is urgent for the protection of vulnerable civilians and local aid workers.”
Borno Governor visits community
Meanwhile, the state governor, Babagana Zulum, has reportedly left for Gubio local government in respect of the attacks.
Details of what the government intends to do there have not been disclosed.