…troops have restored normalcy, says Army
Residents of Magumeri, Guzamala in Borno State yesterday said they were yet to recover from the panic caused by Saturday’s attack by Boko Haram members. According to them, the fighters asked the residents to run before attacking the military base in the area. Some of them said they had relocated to Gubio and Monguno. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), about 2,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), comprising 200 households, had returned to Guzamala to resettle and resume their traditional occupation of farming and fishing, as well as other socio-economic activities following relative peace. But the peace was broken on Saturday, when scores of insurgents in gun trucks and bearing various calibre of arms, stormed the town and engaged the troops in fierce battle that lasted for many hours.
Malam Bukar Mele, who escaped from the fighting, said the attackers invaded the town unexpectedly and asked the villagers to run for their lives. Mele said he immediately took his family and began running just as they (Boko Haram) instructed the residents, leaving behind his belongings.
He said: “They told us in Kanuri to vacate the place so that what they came to do will not affect us. So we all took to our heels in different directions for safety.’’ Another local, Mr. Abdul Bari, said the insurgents assured the residents that they did not come with intention to kill civilians.
He added: “Their target was the military and not civilians. This is what they told us as they asked us to get out of their sight ‘within a blink of an eye’. The insurgents were fully kitted with khaki and covered their faces. “After one minute, they began shooting from the gun trucks facing the military location. There were sounds of sporadic gunshots from many directions. I don’t know what happened but the Army was engaging the terrorists.”
The state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mamman Durkwa, who confirmed the development, said security forces were on top of the situation. He said: “It is unfortunate to confirm to you that there was an attack by Boko Haram extremists on a military base and other communities of Gudumbali. “Thousands of the people who were displaced and spent some years in resettlement camps in Maiduguri have returned recently after the liberation of those surrounding communities by our gallant security forces.
“I regret to inform you that there was another attack by insurgents in Gudumbali, but I am yet to get the number of casualties. “I just spoke with the Police Commissioner, Mr. Damian Chukwu, and the Brigade Commander in Monguno. Both confirmed to me that the attack actually took place, and our security forces were on top of the situation.” Meanwhile, the Commander Sector, 3 Operation Lafiya Dole, Brig. Gen. Uwem Bassey, said troops deployed at Gudumbali, Guzamala gallantly repelled the Boko Haram attack on the military base on Saturday. Scores of Boko Haram members, in gun trucks and carrying various calibres of arms, stormed the town and engaged the troops in a fierce battle that lasted for many hours.
The fighters were said to be with the Boko Haram faction under the leadership of Abu-Mosad Al-Barnawi. The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, said Bassey commended the troops during an assessment visit to Gundumbali. He said: “The commander urged the troops to continue to remain courageous while confronting the insurgents.” Chukwu said the insurgents came to extort and terrorise lawabiding citizens as well as to attack the military base in the town.
However, according to him, they met a serious resistance by the gallant troops. He said: “The troops inflicted overwhelming casualty on the terrorists due to superior fire power while some of the terrorists fled to the fringes of Lake Chad.” Chukwu said in a statement in Maiduguri that the combined troops of 82 Division Task Force Brigade and 158 Task Force Battalion conducting Counter Insurgency Operations in North Eastern Nigeria, had encounter with Boko Haram insurgents in Gudumbali in Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno State.
He said: “The encounter took place when the insurgents attacked the community, set some buildings ablaze and quickly withdrew from the community. “However, no human casualty was recorded in the encounter. “The troops have regrouped and normalcy has been restored. The troops have also been reinforced with additional troops to dominate the general area.
“It will be recalled that Gudumbali is one of the communities in Borno State that were recently reoccupied by Internally Displaced Persons who had voluntarily returned to their ancestral homes. “The people of Gudumbali community and Guzamala Local Government in general are urged to remain calm and resilient as Operation Lafiya Dole troops tirelessly combat the terrorists. “They are also implored to maintain high level of vigilance and monitor strange faces to prevent fleeing Boko Haram terrorists from infiltrating and hibernating in their communities.
“The good people of the North- East are assured of the unalloyed resolve of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole to continue to combat the Boko Haram terrorists in the region.” According to him, efforts are on by the troops to get other fleeing members of the terrorists group. He advised locals to be vigilant and carry out their legitimate businesses in their communities.
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