13 February 2014

Nigeria: Gunmen Kill 39, Burn 1,000 Homes, Schools, Clinics in Borno

No fewer than 39 persons have been buried amidst tears in Kondugu village of Borno State after gunmen believed to be Boko Haram insurgents attacked the community on Tuesday night and set ablaze over 1,000 homes, injuring several others, security and government officials said.

The attack, which occurred at about 6pm, was described as one of the worst, as the gunmen who rode into the village in military trucks and tanks, used sophisticated arms like rocket launchers and Improvised Explosive Devises that destroyed several schools, clinics and shops.

Residents said the soldiers didnot act well during the attack, even as some said the air force jet that came hovering over the village, dropping some bombs only came about three hours into the attack, and did not make any impact as the attackers mobilised and fled in their trucks.

Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, who wept profusely as he visited the villages as some of the burnt structures were still smoking, said the gunmen were about 400 in number and destroyed over 70 percent of the town. He called for "additional troops, and additional support from the military."

Shettima immediately directed the commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs to effect the release of N100 million for the immediate renovation and rebuilding of the burnt homes, schools, clinics, and other worship places, and said he would in the next three days relocate his office to Konduga, irrespective of any security challenges.

A village provisions seller, Mustapha Umar, told LEADERSHIP's reporter who was also in Konduga, that the attackers stormed the village from all directions.

"We had to flee for our dear lives; even the few soldiers in town could not stand them because their guns were mounted on vehicles while some threw explosives that brought down the Central mosque, Konduga, the maternity clinic, the District Head's palace and several other places. More than 50 people were injured and taken to the hospital, while we are now preparing to bury 39 of our people that died. We don't know how many would be found in the bushes later," said Umar.

Governor Shettima, who walked for three hours all over the charred villages, consoling the old and young villagers that sat helplessly outside their burnt homes,described the attack as wicked and ungodly.

He said: "We will never give in to the antics of the Boko Haram; this is our land; we will stay here and salvage it together. We will never be frustrated. Look at what these lunatics did; they burnt down mosques; churches, they burnt hapless people's homes and so on."


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