Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: 39 Killed, 2,000 Houses Destroyed As Boko Haram Invades Borno

Photo: Aminu Abubakar/IRIN
A man stands outside his destroyed home in Borno State.

Maiduguri — Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has said that members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect were better motivated to carry out attacks on innocent people more than the Nigerian security agents who were fighting them.

Shettima spoke in an interview with newsmen shortly after inspecting the magnitude of the destruction carried out by Boko Haram insurgents at Konduga, Tuesday evening.

Thirty-nine people were killed while about 2,000 houses were burnt by Boko Haram during the attack.

"Honestly, we as government believe that our security agencies are doing their best in fighting the Book Haram sect, but I have to be frank with you that the Boko Haram terrorists are much more motivated than our security operatives.

"As I am talking to you now, I just received another call/message that the town of Izge in Gwoza council area of the state is under deadly attack by Boko Haram, but we will not be deterred, as we will do everything possible to ensure the restoration of peace in our dear state.

"I am using this opportunity to call on everybody to continue to pray for peace and unity in our dear state and the country at large.

"In fact, you journalists are here with me and you have seen the situation yourself.

"One would begin to wonder that even mosques are not spared, so if people are saying Boko Haram is a war to Islamise Borno or the country, why are they burning mosques?" Shettima asked.

He noted that about 75 per cent of the entire houses in Konduga council headquarters were set ablaze by the terrorists, but stressed that government would soon mobilise resources to rebuild the affected areas with the aim of rehabilitating displaced persons in the area.

Shettima vowed not to leave Konduga until trucks loaded with food items arrived the troubled town from Maiduguri based on the directives he gave to some of his aides.

Those who sustained serious gunshot wounds were, however, said to have been rushed to various hospitals in Bama as well as the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH, among others for treatment.

Konduga with a population of over 10,000 is about 45 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the state capital. It is located near the Sambisa Forest which also harbours many terrorists' cells in the state.

The area had in the middle of last year witnessed deadly attacks when some terrorists ambushed residents including some worshippers in mosques, killing over 50 of them before setting the mosque and other residential houses ablaze.

The gunmen, according to the Vice Chairman, Civilian JTF, Mr. Tijjani Peter, also set ablaze over 2,000 houses and shops as well as 50 vehicles even as thousands of residents fled for safety.

It was alleged that the terrorists also abducted some youths including some female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Konduga.

Tijani lamented that "we heard about three days ago that some terrorists were sighted by residents in a nearby bush in Konduga, but it was unfortunate that after alerting the security operatives, no action was taken.

"Only yesterday that we started hearing sounds of gunshots and explosives at about 4p.m., we tried our best to repell the attackers as three of them were killed by my colleaques, but they later overpowered us, killing many residents.

"In fact, the casualty figure could have been worse than this, but many residents were alerted that the town would be attacked, hence many of us ran into the bush to hide, leaving some old men and women as well as the under aged children," he added.

The District Head of Konduga, Alhaji Zanna Masu Yale whose entire palace was razed down, said the terrorists also burnt down the Konduga Central Mosque, health clinics, maternity homes and hospitals.

A resident who gave his name as Mallam Baba Abubakar told Vanguard in an interview in Konduga that the gunmen came into Konduga at about 4pm, using two armoured personnel carriers, five Tata pick up vehicles painted in Army camouflage colour, five motorcycles with other sophisticated weapons including Improvised Explosive devices, IED, and over-powered the security operatives on guard before launching attack on residents.

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InFocus

Nigerian Militants Kill Dozens in Borno State

A man stands outside his destroyed home in Borno State.

At least 39 people have been killed and thousands displaced when gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram militants attacked Konduga town in Borno State. Read more »