6 May 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram Kills Over 100, Abducts Eight More Girls in Borno

Photo: Vanguard
Terrorism in Nigeria.

Gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram terrorist group on Tuesday killed no fewer than 100 people in the Gamboru-Ngala Local government area of Borno State, throwing residents into deep mourning mood. Another set of the Boko Haram bandits were also reported to have kidnapped eight more girls in the state capital, Maiduguri, barely three weeks after a similar incident involving more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls also in Borno State.

According to reports from the state, Tuesday's killing took place in the afternoon during the market hours because it was on the market day.

The killing orgy created great pandemonium among the traders many of who were affected while some sustained wounds.

It was also gathered that some of the traders who escaped and ran into nearby residential houses for hiding were pursued by the attackers who subsequently captured them and slaughtered them publicly.

Apart from those that were killed and maimed, according to sources, the blood-thirsting hoodlums also destroyed many residential houses as well as public structures such as police barrack, Customs and Immigration offices and schools.

Also, it was gathered that the Islamic terror members who came to the market in a long convoy of Hilux vans with sophisticated weapons operated for over three hours without intervention from the security agencies.

They equally made away with livestock such as cows, goats and assorted food items.

Investigations further revealed that many residents who escaped from being attacked fled to the neighbouring countries of Cameroon and Chad Republic for safety. Gamboru-Ngala is a boarder town between Nigeria and Cameroon and is about 185 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

An eyewitness from the area who does not want his name in print said: "The attack was so terrible. I saw many dead bodies on the ground before I managed to escape. "I also noticed that some people who had earlier run to hide somewhere immediately the shooting started in the market were later traced to their hiding places by the boys and were slaughtered."

Police sources and residents said also on Tuesday that the eight kidnapped girls, aged between 12 and 15, were snatched during an overnight raid on a village near one of the Boko Haram strongholds.

"They (bandits) were many, and all of them carried guns. They came in two vehicles painted in army colour. They started shooting in our village," Lazarus Musa, a resident of Warabe, where the attack happened, said.

A police source, who could not be named, said the girls were taken away in trucks, along with looted livestock and food. The Boko Haram bandits are still holding more than 200 girls they abducted from Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok, Borno State, on April 15.

Meanwhile, all efforts to speak to Borno State Commissioner of Police, Lawan Tanko, on the development were unsuccessful, as he was said to be at the Government House, Maiduguri, where a security meeting was going on between the state Governor and security chiefs.

But a senior security officer in the state who asked not to be named confirmed the attack, saying, "Yes we heard of the incident and they say it was terrible".

Similarly on Tuesday morning panic gripped residents in the neighbourhoods, as three gunmen snatched a school bus belonging to a private school - Divine Kiddies International Academy, Nyanya - a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where the suspected Boko Haram members had killed scores of people in two separate bomb explosions within a space of two weeks. The security man attached to the school, Gabriel Fishin, told newsmen that the gunmen arrived the school at about 6.00 a.m. in a golf car and waited till about few minutes pass eight o'clock before they carried out the operation.

Confirming the incident to journalists, Police Force spokesman, Frank Mba, assured that none of the school children was, however, kidnapped as speculated.

"As soon as the report got to us, we mobilised men from our end and sent a response team immediately to the scene of crime. We are glad to report that preliminary enquiry conducted by the police actually confirmed that none of the school children was taken away.

"We have communicated the details of that vehicle (stolen) to our patrol teams on exit points and those patrolling the FCT, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kaduna as well as Niger State have been put on alert," Mbuh said, adding that a massive search for the vehicle had begun.

The FCT Administration also confirmed that no pupil was abducted from the school.

There had been panic earlier in the day as online postings reported that a school bus full of pupils was seized by the gunmen.

But spokesman of the FCT Minister, Nosike Ogbuenyi, in a statement explained that the armed men only snatched the school bus.

"However, all the children had disembarked and were safely in the school premises when the incident occurred," he stated.

Ogbuenyi disclosed that the snatched bus was recovered later in the afternoon in Lafia, neighbouring Nasarawa State, and that the two men found in it were promptly arrested by security agencies.

FCT Secretary of Education, Kabir Usman, said relevant security agencies were immediately contacted and the school premises were secured.

Security measures already in place in other school premises were similarly enhanced as security agencies launched investigation into the incident.

British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who described the abduction of the school girls as "disgusting and immoral", offered to help Nigeria in the release of the victims.

Speaking at a Council of Europe meeting in Vienna on Tuesday, Hague said: "Using girls as the spoils of war and the spoils of terrorism is disgusting and immoral. It should show everybody across the world that they should not give any support for such a vile organisation.

"This might help in the future; of course, it does not help today. I called the Nigerian Foreign Minister when this first arose, back on Good Friday, to offer help from Britain," he stated.

He said that the UK would continue to discuss with Nigeria on how his country can assist.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday accepted the offer of President Barack Obama to deploy American troops to assist Nigerian military forces to rescue the abducted secondary school students.

Obama's offer came via a telephone call to Jonathan by the United State Secretary of State, John Kerry, in which the U.S. government said it was ready to immediately dispatch its soldiers and needed military equipment and hardware to the troubled Borno State.

Briefing newsmen on the development, Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, said upon the acceptance of the offer, Jonathan immediately summoned Nigeria's service chiefs for a meeting at the Presidential Villa.

Abati's brief statement reads: "President Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday welcomed and accepted a definite offer of help from the United States of America in the ongoing effort to locate and rescue the girls abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok three weeks ago.

"The offer from President Barack Obama which was conveyed to President Jonathan by the United States Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry in a telephone conversation which began at 15.30 Hours today (Tuesday), includes the deployment of U.S. security personnel and assets to work with their Nigerian counterparts in the search and rescue operation.

"Mr. Kerry assured President Jonathan that the United States is wholly committed to giving Nigeria all required support and assistance to save the abducted girls and bring the reign of terror unleashed on parts of the country by Boko Haram to an end.

"Thanking Mr. Kerry for the call and offer of further assistance, President Jonathan told him that Nigeria's security agencies who were already working at full capacity to find and rescue the abducted girls would appreciate the deployment of American counter-insurgency know-how and expertise in support of their efforts.

"After speaking with the United States Secretary of State, President Jonathan today met with the Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs and heads of national security agencies in continuation of the national efforts to find and rescue the abducted girls.

"The President received updates on the ongoing search and rescue effort, and gave approval for recommended further actions."

No information was made available on the time of arrival of the American troops or if they have already arrived as at the time of briefing.

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