Six members of the youth vigilante group, popularly called Civilian JTF in Borno State, were Tuesday shot dead by suspected members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect in the border town of Damasak, Mobar Local Government Area of the state.
Damasak is about 187 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the state capital, and share border with Niger Republic. The area is believed to be the safe haven of the insurgents after they were dislodged from their bush camps and Maiduguri by the special forces. The youths, mostly traders and residents of Maiduguri, met their untimely death when they were shot dead in a house, where they had gone to pass the night around 1 a.m. by four gunmen.
The names of the killed youths were given as Ismail Alhaji Bunu, 36, Malam Goni, 27, Buzu Bukar, 27, Mohammed Modu, 20, Aliyu Jibrin, 30 and Bukar Bako, 20. It was gathered that five of the victims were traders of necklaces while one of them was a driver, who usually conveyed them to the town's market every Monday.
A member of the vigilante group, Kariyama Mohammed, who also went to Damasak, but did not pass the night in the same house with the victims, said: "We were travelling together to Damasak to sell necklaces, but I did not sleep in the same house with them. It was in the morning that I learnt of their death."
Another resident of the town, who spoke to journalists, said the assailants, who were four in number, shot their victims dead when they were fast asleep, before they fled into the bush. It was gathered that the bodies of the victims packed in a pick up van were seen at the sector 1 headquarters of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Baga road, where they were conveyed to Maiduguri by policemen from Damasak and later taken to their family houses for burial.
Chairman of the vigilante group in Baga road, Alhaji A.D. Bakura, expressed regret over the death of the youths. He said the deceased were members of the group who worked tirelessly to defend the state from the insurgents.