20 September 2013

Nigeria: Borno Highway Ambush - 142 Corpses Evacuated From Bushes

Photo: Daily Trust
Benisheik Town, Borno State

There seems to be no backing down from the killing spree perpetuated by Boko Haram, as yet another 142 bodies were discovered and evacuated Thursday by officials of the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA).

An official of the agency disclosed this yesterday, stating that 142 corpses had been evacuated from the highway and surrounding bushes after Tuesday's ambush on Maiduguri/Damaturu highway by the terrorist sect. The official, who gave his name as Saidu Yakubu, while briefing reporters who were in Benisheikh town with the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, said 87 corpses were evacuated from the road and bushes yesterday alone, even as the evacuation was still ongoing.

Three swollen corpses were sighted by journalists on the highway afternoon during the visit to the area.

Also, Shettima and his team were welcomed to the area by the morbid site of two compactor waste evacuation trucks, which were fully loaded with corpses. Residents informed the governor that 14 civilians and five security personnel, comprising two soldiers and three policemen, were killed in Benisheikh town by the outlawed sect.

It was also gathered from residents that 15 trucks, 18 vehicles, eight motorcycles and six bicycles were set ablaze by the sect members, who were said to have been about 300 in number.

It was not clear where men of the Nigerian Army, who had taken over from the Joint Task Force, were at the time of the attack that gave so much room for the onslaught on innocent travellers on the highway and town.

The terrorists also set ablaze about 150 houses and shops and made away with 10 vehicles from Benisheikh town.

The military post in the area and the local government secretariat were also attacked with rocket-propelled grenades.

Briefing the governor, the Caretaker Chairman of Kaga Local Government Area, Alhaji Bunu Kaigama, said: "14 persons lost their lives in the town yesterday (Wednesday) from the attack by Boko Haram members. Many others were killed along the road to Maiduguri and Damaturu."

Shettima, while speaking to residents after assessing the extent of the damage inflicted on the town, said: "Please don't leave your town in spite of the trauma you are undergoing due to the unfortunate experience.

"Government is going to rebuild all the houses destroyed by the attackers and as soon as I leave here, I will constitute a five-man committee which will be given N50 million to come and commence reconstruction work immediately.

"Everyone who has lost something will be compensated to enable them have a fresh start. All vehicles burnt or taken away by the insurgents will equally be replaced." The governor urged the people not to leave their ancestral homes as government would do everything within its power to make life worth living again for them. He promised families of the 14 deceased N250,000.

The governor described the attack as barbaric and un-Islamic, insisting that no one in his right senses would do it, adding: "It is just insanity to destroy public structures, people's houses and kill people like they did."

At a security post, an army officer, Lt. Col. Babalola, told the governor that two soldiers and three policemen had lost their lives in Wednesday's encounter.

An elder of the community, Jibrin Shuwa, 66, also told reporters that the Boko Haram members "came and took away all our foodstuff, leaving us with nothing to eat."

The Commissioner of Police Lawal Tanko and Brigade Commander of 21 Armoured Brigade, Brig. Gen. Idris Mohammed Yusuf, who was also with the entourage told residents that more troops would be deployed in the area to secure it against future attacks.

Tanko said: "Our office was destroyed but we will still send more of our men to work closely with the soldiers. We will give them logistics."

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