Thursday, September 4, 2014

Boko Haram captures another border town in Borno

Boko Haram members yesterday, in a convoy of Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles took over another border town of Banki in Yobe state, after killing unconfirmed number of residents, as others fled to Cameroon.

According to a resident, Ibrahim Musa, in a telephone interview from Cameroonian border village yesterday, the Nigerian Custom Services, NCS, Nigerian Immigration Services, NIS, military and police posts at Banki border areas were deserted by security personnel manning them, two hours after the attack on Tuesday night.

"As members of the security agencies in this border town fled by noon Tuesday, we had to flee too because the insurgents have taken over all the major military and security posts at the border with Cameroon," said Musa, who added that about 75 per cent of the affected residents, including security operatives have also fled to Cameroonian town of Amchide for safety.

He said: "Six hours after we reached this border village in Cameroon, one of our neighbours that remained in Banki called me and said the gunmen have taken over the town by preaching to people after hoisting their black and white flags at the market square and central mosque, near the police outpost.

"The insurgents were asking the youths in Banki not to fear, but to cooperate, so that they could join the Boko Haram sect to fight both Cameroonian and Nigerian soldiers in the border areas. They went about preaching in the whole town, asking people to leave government work and join them to do the work of Allah. People were afraid, but they said that they did not come to kill anybody but to preach".

Meanwhile, contrary to reports that Boko Haram had taken control of Bama town following an attack Monday, indications have emerged that the military were still in control of the barracks.

Investigations carried out by Vanguard through phone calls to some of the actors on ground revealed that though there were casualties on the side of the military forces in the barracks and other locations, the army actually succeeded in repelling the terrorists.

It was however confirmed that a Nigerian Air force fighter jet, which intervened during the attack on Bama actually dropped a bomb in the barracks owing to information that many of the Boko Haram insurgents who were disguising as civilians, had infiltrated the barracks.

A source in Bama revealed that some civilians, as well as soldiers whose figure cannot be ascertained, died in the bombing of the barracks, adding however that it was due to a communication break between pilots of the aircraft and commanders on the ground.

Vanguard was told that while some people were mourning the death of their colleagues in the battle, others were elated that the combined efforts of the troops and the airforce successfully prevented Boko Haram from taking over Bama.

It will be recalled that following Monday's attack, about 70 of the insurgents were killed before another group regrouped to continue the battle.

It was however gathered that reinforcements were sent to Bama from the 7 division headquarters while troops are on red alert for any further aggression from the insurgents.

Source: Vanguard

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