Leadership (Abuja)

28 May 2014

Nigeria: Fresh Boko Haram Raids - 45 Soldiers, Policemen Killed in Yobe Attack

Photo: Capital FM
Police

Boko Haram terrorists yesterday attacked Buni Yadi in Yobe State and reportedly killed 45 security agents comprising 24 soldiers and 21 policemen.

LEADERSHIP had exclusively reported on Tuesday that the sect members had launched an attack on Buni Yadi but the Nigerian troops moved to the place to repel the attack.

Residents told the Hausa service of the Voice of America (VOA) that the sect members in their hundreds stormed the town on six Hilux vans, armoured tanks and motorcycles late Monday and continued with the attack till the early hours of yesterday.

A resident said, "They (Boko Haram members) told us to calm down as they were not after the civilians; they said their mission was on the security operatives."

Another resident who sought anonymity said the attackers set many houses ablaze including the district head's residence. They also burnt his cars.

A security source who sought anonymity as he was not permitted to do so told the VOA that 24 soldiers and 21 police officers were confirmed dead following the attack.

A reporter of the VOA who is in the region said the militants also attacked motorists on highways leading into and out of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Boko Haram kills 9 villagers, hoists own flag in Gwoza

At least nine people in Chinene and Amuda villages of Gwoza local government area of Borno State were killed on Monday night as gunmen believed to Boko Haram terrorists attacked the communities, eyewitnesses and security officials said.

Several villagers in the attacked communities who managed to flee to take refuge in the rocky mountains had serious injuries.

The gunmen, claiming that part of Nigeria as their newly occupied territory, have since hoisted their white flags that has bold Arabic inscriptions in the area.

A top security official in Maiduguri who craved for anonymity said "the hoisting of a flag in Ashigashiya happened about three weeks back, but unfortunately no order has been given to troops to go there and dislodge them, despite the gravity of that act and its implication for our sovereignty". Chinene is one of the rocky communities located 10km east of Gwoza town and about 120km south of Maiduguri.

During the attack, the gunmen whose flags were specifically hoisted in Ashigashiya shot at the villagers who had to scamper up the rocky mountains as their homes were being set on fire.

According to a villager calling from the mountainous hideout, those of them with bullet injuries had to be dragged up the mountains by other fleeing villagers.

Ibrahim Nglamuda, an official of Gwoza local government, told journalists in Maiduguri that his people risked being attacked even on their rocky hideouts.

"As we speak now, I am still receiving distress calls from my people back home; they were all crying and calling for help; no soldier or police official had gone there yet. Many of them that have sustained bullet injury are not getting any medication up there, and they may stand the risk of dying since they could not come down to access any medical facility for treatment. Everyone is afraid because the Boko Haram gunmen mounted their flags in Ashigashiya, which is now like their headquarters.

"When they attacked last, eight persons were killed and several others seriously injured; six places of worship were burnt down completely, and, for the houses affected, we cannot count the number involved because they were many - all these in Chinene village of Chikide-Joghode-Kaghum ward," said Ibrahim. "They also attacked Amuda village where one person was killed and several others injured. Our big worry is that the villagers who are presently hiding up on the rocky mountains may be in more danger anytime soon, because the gunmen would soon find a way of getting up there to attack them. As I am talking to you now, the insurgents have mobilised at Izhaghathagwa mountain planning on how to finish off our people. That is why they have been calling for help before the gunmen climb up to them."

Those killed by the gunmen in Chinene village are Bulama Ibrahim Dajiba, Bulama John K. Jaha, Haruna Wadda, Bitrus Kurma, Haruna Kwatha, Haruna Waruda, and Shaibu Galva. We have not yet identified one other person killed in Amuda village.

Ngalamuda lamented that villagers had long reported that the Boko Haram terrorists had sacked the people of Ashigashiya and turned the area as their headquarters, "but none of the security operatives bothered to go there to accost them. Late in the evenings, our people used to hear them doing their preaching, using loud speakers powered by generating plants, but no one seemed concerned".

He continued: "We are calling on the military authorities in the state to quickly go up there and help us rescue those poor villagers, their wives and children before the imminent danger of the gunmen attacking them up on the mountains... We have a detachment of soldiers that were deployed to Gwoza but none of them cares to go behind the mountains, even though everyone hears the sound of the shootings there."

A spokesman of the Nigeria vigilante group in Maiduguri had said that "from Bama to Gwoza is like a no-go area now because of the attacks they carry out on the way; similarly the road from Gwoza that leads to Adamawa State through Izge is now another danger spot where these insurgents attack motorists at will and confiscate their belongings, especially food, which they would take into the bushes heading to Sambisa".

Cameroon Vows To Deploy 1,000 Troops To Border

The Cameroonian government has said that it will deploy about 1,000 troops to its border post with Nigeria as part of its contribution to fight the Boko Haram menace.

Spokesman of the country's Defence Headquarters, Lt-Col. Didier Badjeck, told the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that the troops will ensure security patrol in the northern part of the country.

"The troops embark on serious patrol in the area and will attack the Boko Haram members whenever they are attacked.

"The country deployed about 700 troops since last March in the northern region to fight against the Boko Haram sect," Didier said.

The country was earlier accused by the Nigerian government of not helping to fight the Boko Haram.

Boko Haram is pure madness - CDS

The chief of defence staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh, has described the act of insurgency carried out in northern Nigeria by the Boko Haram sect as pure madness.

He made this known while responding to the National Oil Spillage Detection and Regulation Agency (NOSDRA) board chairman, Maj. Lancelot Ayanya (rtd), who led a delegation to his office yesterday.

The CDS noted that the situation in the region has become more disturbing, given the recent kidnap of the Chibok schoolgirls. He said though information is got every day on the activities of the sect, heavy ammunition cannot be deployed to the area because the girls could be killed in the process. However, he expressed determination that the girls will be found. But Badeh said "as we are fighting we should continue to pray".

Troops Surround Sambisa Forest

Troops fighting insurgency in the north-east of the country have surrounded the Sambisa forest, especially the spot where the over 200 Chibok girls are being held hostage, with a view to preventing anyone going out or coming in.

The chief of defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, on Monday announced to the whole world that the whereabouts of the abducted girls had been located but they were looking for ways of setting free the captives without losing any of them.

A military source disclosed to our correspondent in Abuja that most of the operation is now centered around the Sambisa forest to ensure nobody escapes from the hideouts or takes any of the girls away.

According to him, "the Nigerian military is now on top of the situation, as various information has been gathered and being analyzed, as at the best opportunity to strike and free the abducted girls".

He explained that the pressure on the insurgent groups is mounting every hour and may be forced to release them, in order to avoid confrontation with the troops.

Also, the source said that aerial surveillance is being carried out intermittently to avoid the girls being moved out of the forest.

According to the source, the insurgents that are carrying out incessant attacks on some villages in Borno State are the ones that crossed over from Cameroun borders to Nigeria who escaped back after carrying out their heinous crime.

The source disclosed that all the insurgents' major camps in Borno State have been destroyed, hence they are now moving towards Bauchi State to establish new camps.

Force Will Never Bring Schoolgirls Alive, Intermediary Tells Jonathan

The Boko Haram intermediary who facilitated the aborted negotiations between the federal government and Boko Haram reportedly told President Goodluck Jonathan before the deadlock that force could not bring the abducted schoolgirls back alive from the sect's den.

A journalist, Ahmad Salkida, is serving as a middleman between the Boko Haram sect and the federal government.

A competent source in the know of what transpired between the Presidency and Salkida told online medium SaharaReporters that the journalist was blunt when he tabled his case before the government.

The source said Salkida had already expressed doubts before he sneaked into the country after the Nigerian government sought his intervention that the government might not play its role but was pressurised by several interests wanting an end to the bloodshed.

"From the beginning, Salkida never wanted to come because of previous experience, but after consultations he made up his mind and gave conditions which the government complied to -- that nothing will happen to him on entry and exit at airport and which the president issued a letter of indemnity.

"On landing, he commenced work and made contacts and, at the end, got the position of the sect and also briefed the president the condition the abducted girls were in. The girls were fine and well fed. It was a dangerous attempt but, as Muslims, we believe in Allah we serve and everything was smooth with Salkida in reaching the sect," the source said.

On what transpired during the final meeting, the source said, "The young man told the president that force will not bring the girls alive, and that the sect too had a long list of their members and their families killed by Nigerian troops. And there is need to have a common ground so that the girls will be freed and their members too in detention freed as well."

We can't corroborate Nigerian over location of girls, says U.S.

The United States has said that it did not have independent information to confirm Nigeria's claims to know the whereabouts of more than 200 abducted schoolgirls and questioned the wisdom of making public such information.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told Reuters that "We don't have independent information from the United States to support these reports that you referenced," when asked about chief of defence staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh's statement that the military knew where the abducted girls were.

"We, as a matter of policy and for the girls' safety and wellbeing, would not discuss publicly this sort of information regardless," Psaki said.

Obasanjo in talks to free Schoolgirls

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has met with people close to Boko Haram in an attempt to broker the release of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls, a source close to the talks told AFP on Tuesday.

Reports of the talks emerged as Boko Haram was blamed for fresh attacks targeting the security forces, public buildings and a school in its northeastern stronghold. Cameroon also said it had begun deploying 3,000 extra troops to buttress its border with Nigeria against the threat posed by marauding militants.

On Monday evening, Nigeria's chief of defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, said the 223 girls still missing had been located but cast doubt on the prospect of any rescue by force. The talks last weekend at Obasanjo's farm in southern Ogun State included relatives of senior Islamist fighters, intermediaries and the former president, the source said on condition of anonymity.

"The meeting was focused on how to free the girls through negotiation," said the source, referring to the kidnapped schoolgirls whose abduction has triggered global outrage. Nigeria's response to the mass abduction has been widely criticised and the hostage crisis has brought unprecedented international attention to Boko Haram's five-year extremist uprising.

But the source told AFP that Obasanjo had voiced concern about Nigeria's acceptance of foreign military personnel to help rescue the girls.

"He said he is worried that Nigeria's prestige in Africa as a major continental power had been diminished" by President Goodluck Jonathan's decision to bring in Western military help, including from the United States.

Mustapha Zanna, the lawyer who helped organise Obasanjo's 2011 talks with Boko Haram, said he was at the former president's home on Saturday.

But he declined to discuss whether the Chibok abductions were on the agenda.

"I was there," he told AFP, explaining that Obasanjo was interested in helping vulnerable children in Nigeria's embattled north-east.

Zanna had represented Yusuf's family in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the government following his death in police custody.

It was not clear if Obasanjo's weekend meeting had been sanctioned by the government.

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InFocus

Soldiers, Police Die in Latest Nigeria Attack

Police

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen attacked a military base and a nearby police barracks in Buni Yadi, Yobe State, killing at least 33 security personnel, security sources and residents. Read more »