Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: 48 Killed in Fresh Borno Attacks, Chibok Schoolgirls Sighted in Chad

Photo: Premium Times
Boko Haram

Maiduguri — No fewer than 48 people were killed by insurgent group, Boko Haram, in Shawa and Alagarno villages of Askira Cuba and Damboa local government areas of Borno State, respectively.

The attackers also carted away food items after setting ablaze almost all houses in the villages.

Shawa is about three kilometres south of Kwapchi village which came under attack in the last two weeks, where 12 people were killed with several residential houses set ablaze, while Alagarno village is about 30 kilometres to Chibok town, where about 275 female students of Government Secondary School were abducted by the insurgents and about 117 kilometers from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

A local resident, Mallam Umaru Saina, who spoke with our correspondent on phone, said about 30 terrorists on 10 motorcycles stormed Alagarno village yesterday at 1:30a.m. and had a field day before they left.

He said: "A young woman in Alagarno village was missing during the attack, but nobody knows whether the woman was taken away by the insurgents who destroyed everything we had and burnt down our remaining food.

"The most painful thing is that, they did not spare children. They killed children, women, and men."

Meantime, Premium Times quoted senior military and administration officials as saying that Nigeria's Special Forces from 7 Division have sighted and narrowed the search for the abducted Chibok schoolgirls to three camps operated by the extremist sect north of Kukawa at the western corridors of Lake Chad.

Sources said the Shawa incident took place on Monday evening, while the Algarno attack took place yesterday morning.

Parents' death

Meanwhile, a father of eight, whose two daughters were among the over 200 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Mr. Mutai Hona, has died of heart attack as a result of high blood pressure, BP.

Another parent, Madam Mary Lalai of Mbulabam village in Chibok Local Government Area died earlier of heart attack on hearing the news of her daughter's abduction.

The news of Mr. Hona's death was announced by his brother, Mr. James Yama. Yama, in an interview with newsmen in Maiduguri, said the deceased who was hale and hearty died last Sunday of psychological trauma when he realised that none of his two abducted daughters were among those shown in the video clip earlier released by the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau.

Late Hona, aged 56, survived by two widows, has been buried in Chibok.

Yama disclosed that most of the parents were neither eating nor sleeping due to psychological trauma.

He said: "We are suffering in silence. One of my brothers, Mr. Mutai Hona, whose two daughters were among those abducted, died last Sunday as a result of heart attack.

"Since the incident, he had not been eating well, before he developed high blood pressure.

Relief materials rejected

"It will interest you to note that last Sunday, officials of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, in charge of North-East Zone were here in Chibok to distribute relief materials to the victims, but none of the parents of the abducted girls collected even soap.

"They protested to NEMA officials that all they wanted was for government to bring back their abducted daughters. In fact, most of those who benefitted from the relief materials were people whose daughters were not among the abducted.

"If we had seen the corpses of our girls, we would have forgotten about them. They have turned the whole episode into a hide-and-seek game with the authorities not letting us know what is really happening. It is unfortunate."

Teachers' revolt

The Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, yesterday, ordered the closure of all schools nationwide in protest against the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls and the killing of 170 teachers from Borno State and three from Yobe State by the insurgents.

National President of NUT, Mr. Michael Alogba, who gave the directive while addressing journalists in Abuja, said the union was depressed and sad over the continued incarceration of the Chibok girls by insurgents.

He urged the Federal Government and governments of Borno and Yobe states to exhibit true concern for the families of the 173 teachers.

Alogba said: "The NUT has resolved to hold Bring Back our Girls rallies simultaneously across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory, FCT, today.

"All schools nationwide shall be closed as the day will be our day of protest against the abduction of Chibok female students and the heartless murder of 173 teachers.

"At this junction, we demand that both the Federal and respective state governments should exhibit true concern to the families of the 173 teachers who lost their lives to the barbaric, uncivilised and wicked acts of terror by paying them adequate compensation to assist in soothing their misery.

"It is also important to take insurance cover for both students and teachers in the vulnerable political environment of the country. Education should be publicly declared as fundamental human rights and abridgement should be criminalised."

US troops

The United States of America, USA, has deployed 80 military personnel to Chad to help regional efforts to rescue the more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls, President Barack Obama said yesterday.

In a letter to the US Congress, he said: "These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area.

"The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required."

France also has forces in Chad, while Britain and the United States have sent small teams of specialists to Nigeria to assist the Federal Government in the search for the girls.

"It has been a most difficult but heroic breakthrough," one senior military official said in Abuja, according to Premium Times.

That claim was supported by another senior commander from the Army's 7 Division, the military formation created to deal with the insurgency in the North-East. The 7 Division is headquartered in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.

The news is also key for the Maiduguri-based 7 Division a week after a humiliating mutiny by troops of its 101 battalion who fired at the General Officer Commanding the division, Ahmadu Mohammed, a Major General.

Military officers coordinating the search and other officials in Abuja said Boko Haram insurgents split the girls into batches and held them at their camps in Madayi, Dogon Chuku and Meri, all around the Sector 3 operational division of the military detachment confronting the group's deadly campaign.

Another source said there is a fourth camp at Kangarwa, also in Borno State. That claim could not be independently verified.

Sightings

"Our team first sighted the girls on April 26 and we have been following their movement with the terrorists ever since," one of our sources said.

"That's why we just shake our heads when people insinuate that the military is lethargic in the search for the girls," he added.

The location of the abducted girls -- North-East of Kukawa -- opens a new insight into the logistic orientation of Boko Haram, responsible for thousands of deaths in a five-year long insurgency.

President Goodluck Jonathan said the group had killed at least 12,000 people so far. This figure did not include the hundreds killed in a car bomb, Tuesday, in Jos and the about 10 murdered on Sunday in Kano in a suicide bombing.

Boko Haram's movement

Details established by the military shows that while the world's attention is focused on the Sambisa forest reserves, about 330 kilometres south of Maiduguri, the terrorists mapped a complex mission that began at Chibok, and veered north east of Sambisa, before heading to west of Bama and east of Konduga.

With the sighting, officials fear that Boko Haram militants may be seeking to create new options of escape all the way to Lo-gone-Et Chari in Cameroon to its South-East, Lake Chad to its east and Diffa in Niger Republic to its north, providing a multiple escape options in the event of hostile ground operations against it.

Notwithstanding the sighting, the government is said not to be considering the use of force against the extremists, a choice informed by concerns for the safety of the students.

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