19 March 2013

Nigeria: Gunmen Attack Schools, Kill Three Teachers in Maiduguri

Photo: Angela Stuesse

Pandemonium erupted Monday when gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect laid siege on some schools in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, killing three teachers, injuring scores of others and students.

While the killing spree was ongoing in Maiduguri, reports said about six persons were killed by gunmen in two separate attacks in Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State on Sunday night.

But as the news of the attacks filtered into town, some schools were said to have quickly locked up their gates, while others hurriedly sent their teachers and pupils home to forestall any harm on them.

It was gathered that at about 9:10 a.m. around Ruwan Zafi area of the town, six suspected Boko Haram members laid ambush to Shehu Sanda Kyarimi Secondary School, and shot dead three teachers, whose identity were yet to be ascertained.

Three female students were also said to have sustained varying degrees of injuries arising from stray bullets, while two other teachers were also killed in Mafoni Primary and Secondary Schools.

Another account from some people in the town said the shooting occured at about 11:20 a.m. at Mafoni area, when members of the group stormed Ali Askira Primary School and shot one Mallam Abdullahi, before moving to Mafoni Day Secondary School, where they killed a female teacher, who was simply identified as Hajja Yagumsu.

Spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF), 'Operation Restore Order', Lt. Colonel Sagir Musa, said: "Information available to the JTF Operation Restore Order indicated that a teacher at Sanda Karami Secondary School, Ruwan Zafi, Customs General Area in Maiduguri metropolis one Malam Kachalla was shot dead on March 18 between 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. inside the school's premises by Boko Haram Terrorists. Three female students were also critically injured from bullet wounds and were rushed to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital by the JTF patrol attracted to the scene by hasty movement of people from Customs Market area."

Meanwhile, the incident at Tapo village of Barkin Ladi left three members of a family shot dead by the attackers, while an 80-year-old village head, Da Dung Bot Gwom, was believed to have died from exhaustion, while trying to escape from the gunmen.

But in Torok-Rim village of Riyom, children were the victims, as about two children between the ages of two and four years were killed and left in the pool of their blood after the assailants shot them at their residence before escaping.

Eyewitnesses in Riyom said the incident occurred at about 8:30 p.m. on Sunday night, adding that four other persons were rushed to Vom Christian Hospital for treatment.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Dr. Samuel Dido, who confirmed the incident, said the four other persons were still unconscious at the hospital, with severe gunshots injuries.

Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly and member representing Riyom constituency in the state House of Assembly, Hon. Daniel Dem, who visited the scene, condemned the attack and called on the Special Task Force (STF) Commander, Major General Henry Ayoola, to redeploy the Sector 9 Commander, Colonel Jimoh, from the area for alleged complicity.

Dem said: "It is unfortunate that Jimoh would say women in the community attacked soldiers, which is not true. Now two children have been killed and four other persons are in critical condition in the hospital, we don't know how they will end up, yet Jimoh is busy accusing women of attacks on Soldiers. And I want to emphasise here that if we mean business about peace in Riyom, Colonel Jimoh should be replaced with somebody serious."

In Barkin Ladi, the gunmen, according to an eyewitness, stormed the village at about 11 p.m., broke into the residence of one Rwang Davou, aged 71, killing him, his 47-year-old son, Pam Rwang Davou, and his six-year old grandson, Martins Pam Rwang.

Pam's wife reportedly escaped with injuries, and was now receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.

The three family members were buried yesterday, while the body of the village head had been deposited in the mortuary for proper burial arrangements.

The burial of the three was witnessed by the Chairman, Management Committee of Barkin Ladi local government area, Mr. Emmanuel Loman, and member representing the area in the Assembly, Mrs. Kaneng Gyang Fulani, whose husband was once a victim of a similar attack.

However, Media Officer of the STF in the state, Captain Salisu Mustapha, said he was yet to be briefed on the killings.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Olakpe, confirmed the incident at Riyom, adding that the command in collaboration with the STF was investigating the incident.

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