28 May 2014

Nigeria: Again, Insurgents Kill 44 in Borno, Plateau Attacks

Abuja — Suspected Boko Haram gunmen again on Wednesday massacred no fewer than 40 people when they launched fresh attack on a remote border community in northern Borno State.

According to sources, the gunmen attacked Gurmushi village in the Marte Local Government area of the state on the Nigeria-Cameroon border after the early morning Muslim prayer (Subhi).

The attackers reportedly opened fire on the residents in their houses, leading the killing of more then 40.

But the claim could not be verified from the military or police authority in the state at press time on Wednesday.

A military source, however, said the incident has not been reported to authority at the state capital due to the remoteness of the area, adding that GSM services are not available in the area.

Meanwhile, the BBC Hausa Service monitored in Maiduguri on Wednesday quoted a woman as saying 40 people were killed in the said attack.

"I counted over 40 corpses littered on the ground, while the village was razed down completely, most of us ran into the bush for our safety," the woman told BBC on phone.

She also said 12 people were injured.

The woman further disclosed that she and other residents in the area have all fled the village to a Cameroon settlement for fear of repeat attack by the terrorists.

Another report from Jos on Wednesday said the Plateau State Police Command confirmed the killing of four persons by unknown gunmen on Tuesday night in Wat village, Kuru, in the Jos South Local Government area of the state.

State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Felicia Anslem, confirmed the incident in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Jos.

Anslem said the village was attacked by unknown gunmen when the people were asleep, and killed four persons and injured others.

And in Abuja, Director of Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, said security agents have arrested one suspect in connection with the May 20 bombing in Jos Central Market.

He disclosed this at a joint news conference by the National Information Centre, Abuja.

He said the suspect was already providing the lead for subsequent aspects of investigation into the incident.

According to him, security agencies are carrying out nationwide surveillance and that the surveillance was yielding positive results.

"A number of persons, who are planning to continue the bombing spree, have also been arrested.

"But as a mark of vigilance of the security agencies, as well as the citizens who are giving useful information, the bomb planners were apprehended.

"Troops have continued to raid locations in the course of which a number of arrests have been made in places like Kachia in Kaduna State and Zamfara," Olukolade said.

Meanwhile, four more of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted more than four weeks ago by the Boko Haram insurgents from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, have escape from their captors.

Chairman of Chibok Local Government, Bana Lawan, disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja at a Stakeholders Validation Meeting of Draft Humanitarian Response Plan for Chibok organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Represented by the local government's Director of Personnel and Management, Musa Elijah, Lawan said the girls escaped on Tuesday, bringing the total number of those who have freed themselves from the Boko Haram to 57 out the 221 abducted on April 15.

He said 164 of the girls are still missing.

"Yes, any of the girls can escape through the bush path and anybody on the road can see and pick them up.

"The girls are inside the Sambista Forest, we know that they are there."

Lawan who commended the Nigerian military for its efforts to free the abducted girls and bring peace to the North East region, debunked claims that the army was not on ground.

He said once they are alerted, "they will come but sometimes people set them up and ambush them on the way".

He stated that apprehension has greatly reduced and that the people were hopeful that the girls would be rescued alive and re-united with their families.

"The only thing is that it is not advisable for them to just move in like that.

"Mind you there are traps all around and the forest is where the insurgents have lived all along. And the forest is so wide and has many kinds of animals that the military go there every year to kill most of the elephants.

"Except the hunters who enter there to hunt, even at that they don't just go there like that.

"I appealed to Federal Government to prepare a welfare package for the girls, we have hope that they return live and build public infrastructure in the area," he urged.

Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, said the meeting would serve as a platform to strengthen the coordination mechanism for humanitarian response by relevant stakeholders as the Federal Government works towards safe release of the girls.

"The objective of this meeting is to integrate all sector plans into one holistic multi-sector response plan to avoid duplication of efforts, strengthen inter-agency collaboration and mobilise support towards the humanitarian challenges being faced by the affected population of Chibok Local Government," he stated.

Already, he disclosed that NEMA has developed a humanitarian response plan.

"But it is just a draft; but we are working the international organisations and donor agencies and we need to make the UN system and all our partners key into the plan and have a holistic response plan for the whole of the north east," Sani-Sidi explained.

Also speaking, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Nigeria, Dauda Toure, urged the stakeholders to support the initiative of NEMA by making useful contribution towards its success.

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