Vanguard (Lagos)

1 March 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram Attacks Adamawa State Governor's Convoy

Yola — Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State yesterday escaped death by the whiskers when he was attacked in Shuwa, Madagali Local Government Area of the state by Boko Haram insurgents.

Madagali and Michika local governments of the state came under attack by the insurgents only two days ago and Nyako had visited the area to commiserate with those who lost their loved ones and was addressing the people when suspected members of the Boko Haram, started firing at him.

However the Defence Headquarters also yesterday said that the Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, was not attacked by Boko Haram insurgents, contrary to reports and that 13 Boko Haram insurgents were killed in raids on their cells.

A statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, DDI, Major General Chris Olukolade said that Admiral Nyako was returning from Shuwa and Michika where he went to sympathise with victims of Boko Haram attack when his convoy sighted a military convoy and scampered for safety, thinking that they were enemies.

Eyewitnesses said that shortly after the Governor had been handed over the microphone to address the people, two gunmen in military camouflage emerged from nowhere and shot thrice into the air.

It was learnt that there was commotion soon after the gun shots were fired as people started alerting others saying that, "They are coming! They are coming!" referring to the insurgents.

However, Nyako's security details succeeded in smuggling him into his vehicle amid the staccato of gunshots and drove him out to avoid being killed.

This was even as several vehicles in the governor's convoy rammed into each other, leading to minimal damages to the vehicles just as some of the personalities in the entourage and many of the villagers sustained serious injuries while running for their lives.

The governor told reporters on his return to Yola that he was not scared with the threat, stressing that the plight of his people was more important to him.

Nyako added that what happened in Shuwa in Madagali showed the high level of the security challenges facing the people of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.

He reiterated his earlier call on the military hierarchy to deploy more military personnel, arms and ammunition to contain the scourge of the insurgency.

Major General Chris Olukolade in the statement also said that 13 Boko Haram insurgents were killed in raids at their cells even as several other suspects were arrested.

The statement entiltled, "Update on counter terrorist campaign: more terrorists arrested, 13 killed in raids," read, "More terrorists have been arrested while 13 of them died following a raid on their make-shift camp sited between Borno and Adamawa States. Some of those who escaped from earlier raids have also been picked up in Maiduguri and environs.

"Meanwhile, calm has returned to Shuwa after the pandemonium generated by the panic in the community yesterday morning when people sighted the convoy of troops going after terrorists and mistook it for another round of attack.

'The confusion also led to the claim that the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako who had visited the community was attacked by terrorists".

The military authorities have refuted the claim. The troops were on assignment to block a discovered entry and exit point of terrorists into the country through the state.

"The community has been assured of their safety as normalcy has returned."

NO ATTACK ON GOVERNOR NYAKO'S CONVOY

The alleged attack on the convoy of Governor Nyako as presented in a breaking news report on some television channels this afternoon is not true.

"The truth is that the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako visited Michika and Shuwa areas of the State to sympathise with the communities that were attacked by terrorists recently.

"While returning, the convoy came across a noticeable pandemonium which resulted from the alarm raised by some people who had mistaken a convoy movement of troops on patrol at Kirchinga village, for another impending attack by terrorists. In the ensuing stampede and confusion, people scampered into the bush ostensibly to escape from those mistaken for terrorists.

"The incident which was presented as a "breaking news" and scrolled on TV is therefore not a true reflection of what actually happened. The report is capable of causing unnecessary anxiety and heightening tension.

"The military authorities therefore find it necessary to put the records straight and call on residents to go about their normal activities while remaining vigilant. The operations in the North East are being consolidated and every effort is being made to stop the terrorists from continuing their atrocities in that part of the country."

Gunmen from the Islamist sect, Boko Haram had shot dead at least 12 people during a four-hour siege on villages in northeast Nigeria overnight, two days after a deadly attack on a school, witnesses said Thursday.

The gunmen riding in 13 pick-up trucks sped into Kirchinga village in Adamawa state in the evening, burning churches and houses and shooting sporadically at fleeing villagers, residents said.

The insurgents chased residents into neighbouring Shuwa village, where they torched the house of a local bishop, a theological school and a police station.

The owner of a bakery, Martha Yakubu, said she counted 12 dead bodies, including two of her workers. Three banks, small schools and dozens of houses were attacked.

The military later, said in a statement that six members of Boko Haram, one soldier and three civilians were killed in the fighting.

The villages are in a hilly region running along the Cameroon border where soldiers have struggled to pin down insurgents who hide in rugged terrain and launch guerilla attacks on areas they accuse of being pro-government.

Boko Haram gunmen killed 59 pupils at a boarding school in Yobe State, close to Adamawa, in the early hours of Tuesday, in an attack President Goodluck Jonathan called "callous and senseless murder". Western governments are concerned about Nigerian groups like Boko Haram linking up with al Qaeda-linked cells in other countries in the Sahel region, like Mali, where France sent troops a year ago to oust Islamist militants.

"Today Nigeria is facing the terrorism of Boko Haram," French President Francois Hollande said in Abuja Thursday during Nigeria's 100 year anniversary celebrations.

"I assure you... your fight is our fight and we will always be ready to not only give you political support, but our help every time it is necessary," Hollande added, without giving details of what help was on offer.

With Agency Report

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