A pre-dawn attack by suspected gunmen has led to the death of 20 people in Maiha Local Government Headquarters of Adamawa State with 35 prison inmates freed.
The attack threw the council into confusion yesterday as the Divisional Police Headquarters, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) office and several residential houses were set ablaze by the invaders.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Ibrahim, confirmed that the assailants burnt down the Customs Office, District Head office, a car belonging to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and several residential houses in the town.
Ibrahim also disclosed that a guest alongside a police officer were killed even as eyewitnesses told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND that about 20 other people were killed while 35 inmates in prisons custody were freed by the attackers.
He said 11 of the fleeing inmates were re-arrested. The police commissioner, Mr. Godfrey Okeke, confirmed the incident but declined to make further comments.
However, a resident of the area told our reporter that the gunmen came from the mountains of Maiha between 12.30 am to 3 am yesterday and set the prison inmates free. He disclosed that they attacked and set ablaze the Police Divisional Headquarters, where 20 persons were killed and several others injured. He said the presidential lodge, was also set ablaze by the attackers. Residents of area took to their heels in order to safeguard their lives.
According to the source, the attackers came into the town in large numbers from the mountainous areas of Maiha at 3am with heavy weapons and fired several gunshots before storming the Police Divisional Headquarters and the prison. They also overran the police station, made away with various arms and ammunition before proceeding to the prisons where they freed all the inmates.
He added that the attackers proceeded to the Local Government Education Authority complex, which they ransacked and also burnt. Following the ugly incident, residents of Maiha were thrown into confusion.
In Maiduguri, Borno State, the Joint Task Force (JTF) code named Operation Restore Order said yesterday that it had arrested three suspects in connection with the killing of five persons in Maiduguri.
JTF spokesman, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement in Maiduguri. explained that the suspects were arrested after a distress call was made by residents of the area.
"Information available to the JTF indicated that gunmen sneaked into Musari community at the outskirt of Maiduguri. They secretly carried out selective killings of five persons including a serving traffic warden," he said.
Musa said that the incident happened between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. yesterday, when the victims were fast asleep.
"The JTF troops was alerted and responded to a distress call. Three of the suspected assailants were apprehended," he said.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Musa added that the JTF also recovered one AK-47 rifle and 10 rounds of ammunition from the suspects.
"Investigation has since commenced and the operation to apprehend fleeing members of the gang is on-going," he said.