The killing field in Borno continued unchallenged as the world's deadliest terror group, Boko Haram struck again yesterday, killing the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Shehu Timta after ambushing him on the Biu-Garkida Road in Borno State.
Sources said the late Emir, with two other monarchs - the Emir of Uba, Alhaji Ali Ibn Ismaila Mamza II and the Emir of Askira, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibn Muhammadu Askirama - were on their way to Gombe for the burial of the Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Shehu Usman Abubakar when they were attacked.
An Askira palace sources who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri on telephone said: "The people of Uba and Gwoza were shocked and terrified with the sad news that our royal fathers were attacked by armed youths in Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles at a spot on Garkida Road this morning."
After the attack, the Biu-Garkida Road was condoned off by the Military for over six hours, forcing the insurgents to flee into the forest.
The defence headquarters in a statement yesterday confirmed the attack on the three Emirs and the subsequent killing of the Emir of Gwoza.
The statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade said troops deployed in Garkida responded to the attack and the Emirs of Uba and Askira were secured while the body of Emir of Gwoza who died in the attack had been recovered.
The statement reads: "A band of terrorists today attacked a convoy of the Emirs of Gwoza, Uba and Askira who were travelling to Gombe for the funeral of the late Emir of Gombe. Troops deployed in Garkida responded to the attack. Troops are currently on aggressive patrols along the entire route with a view to apprehending the perpetrators and keeping the area safe."
Also, the Borno State Government in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda, confirmed the killing of the Emir of Gwoza.
The statement reads: "The Borno State Government regrets to announce the unfortunate murder of His Royal Highness, the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Timta. The Emir was killed around 9am today (Friday) following a bloody attack by some gun men believed to be members of the Boko Haram along Tashan Alade on the way to Biu town, headquarters of Biu Local Government Area in Southern Borno State.
"The late Emir was in company with the Emir of Askira, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibn Muhammadu Askirama and Emir of Uba, Alhaji Ali Ibn Ismaila Mamza, all of whom drove in the same vehicle as they headed to Biu to pick the Emir of Biu so that they could all drive in convoy to Gombe State to attend the funeral of the late Emir of Gombe today (Friday).
"The late Emir of Gwoza had visited his counterpart, the Emir of Uba yesterday and passed the night in Uba ahead of their planned trip today. The two Emirs were this morning, joined by the Emir of Askira. The three drove in the same vehicle with the intention of going to Biu to be joined by their counterpart in Biu."
"Unfortunately as they were driving in convoy to Biu, they were ambushed by gun men around Tashan Alade, soon after passing Garkida. The gunmen came after the convoy, specifically targeted the vehicle conveying the three Emirs and opened fire. The Emir of Gwoza was unfortunately killed by the attackers while the Emirs of Askira and Uba escaped unhurt. A policeman in the convoy was shot by the attackers but he survived the attack."
The government described the late Emir as a great man who worked very hard to promote peace and progress in Gwoza. "He was a pillar and one of the rallying points in Borno State. He visibly worked very hard in the search for peace in Gwoza since the insurgency began.
The statement reads further: "Borno State Government is terribly shocked by this incident. The government prays that Allah admits the late Emir into aljanna Firdaus and give family, members of the Gwoza Emirate Council, the people of Gwoza, the State Council of Chiefs and the entire people of Borno State the fortitude to bear this very traumatic loss."
The late Emir of Gwoza was born in 1942. He attended the Muslim Elementary School, Gwoza in 1948 and Senior Primary School Bama between 1952 and 1960. He proceeded to the then Provincial Secondary School, now Government College, Maiduguri between1960 to 1964, for secondary education.
The late Emir, after working briefly as a teacher in Gwoza, proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to study Sharia Law in 1968 and later obtained HND in the same discipline in 1972.
He worked with the then North - East judiciary in various capacities as an inspector of Area Courts and rose to the rank of Principal Inspector of Area Courts before his appointment as the 3rd chief of Gwoza in October, 1981.
The late Emir was elevated to a second class Emir in 1987 and Governor of Borno State Hon. Kashim Shettima further elevated him to the rank of a 1st class Emir in January, 2014.
He was survived by four wives, 28 children and many brothers and sisters. Among them are Alhaji Haruna Idrisa Timta, the former Head of Service, Borno State; Alhaji Adamu Idrisa Timta, a Permanent Secretary with the Borno State Government; Alhaji Yusuf Timta, Secretary, Gwoza Local Government and Alhaji Umar Timta of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Maiduguri.
His other children are Muhammad S. Timta, District Head of Hambagda; Isa S. Timta, Secretary of the Emirate Council; Lt. Abdulrazaq S. Timta of the Nigeria Army and Dr. Abubakar S. Timta.
Military raises the alarm over alleged plot against operations In a related development, the DHQ has raised the alarm about an alleged plot "by some interest groups to embark on a renewed campaign aimed at attracting international condemnation and indictment of the Nigerian military and its operations in the Northern part of the country."
According to the Defence Spokesman, "the campaign will rely heavily on doctored and falsified audio visual materials, some of which are already trending in the social media. It is to be coordinated and funded by a prominent political leader whose state is presently under the state of emergency."
Olukolade said that the details of the plan "which is already being fine-tuned by a group of media practitioners, is to be presented for the final ratification and funding by the political figure."
According to him, the design is expected to forcefully whip up sentiments of genocide allegedly targeted against a particular religious group.
The planners of this multi-media crusade, he noted, also hope to use it to gain some mileage in the drive to secure international attention as they have not achieved this sufficiently despite previous efforts.
"The programme which is also meant to reinforce the ongoing media campaign against the military was adopted as an alternative by those who are bent on politicizing the ongoing counter terrorists operations in the northern part of the country.
"It will be recalled that a newspaper, apparently testing the waters, last week published some of the doctored pictures which the Defence Headquarters instantly repudiated.
"This Headquarters wishes to reiterate its rejection of pictures and video footages from unverifiable sources claiming to reflect activities or so called atrocities purportedly perpetrated by Nigerian security forces.
"They do not reflect or depict the true state of affairs or operations of Nigerian military or any of the security forces. The public is advised to watch out and not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by these acts of infamy orchestrated by this desperate group.
"Once again, it must be emphasized that the dastardly acts of terrorism are against all Nigerians and all peace loving people all over the world. No amount of propaganda by apologists of terror group can justify the evil acts of terrorism by attempting to cast the Nigerian military and security forces in bad light," he stated.