Clashes between vigilante youths and Boko Haram insurgents have left some 25 persons dead in two separate incidents in Dawashe in Kukawa local government area and Mainok, both in Borno State.
While 20 persons were killed in the clash in Dawashe, five youths were shot dead by Boko Haram members in an ambush near Mainok.
In the first incident, youths who are helping the military to fight the insurgents,are said to have gone from Maiduguri to Dawashe village in search of members of the dreaded terrorist group which has been banned by the government.
However, it was gathered that an attempt to root out the insurgents was met with stiff resistance resulting in a gun battle during which about 20 persons were killed.
Many of the dead are said to be innocent villagers caught in the crossfire of the gun battle.
An unspecified number of villagers were also injured in the clash and are receiving treatment at the medical facility of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which is headquartered nearby in Baga.
The clash was confirmed by the spokesman of the MNJTF, HarunaMohammed Sani, a lieutenant, in a statement sent to journalists by email.
Explaining what happened, Sani said that “a group of Civilian Joint Task Force from Maiduguri stormed the village Dawashi in search ofBoko Haram members when the suspected sect members came armed and fired sporadic shots that killed over twenty innocent civilians while a dozen secured serious gunshot injury.”
“The victims are mostly fishermen and traders who pursue their legitimate business in the area. As at the time of compiling this report, the victims were still lying within the premises of MNJTFField Ambulance receiving medical treatment from the injury sustained during the attack,” he explained further.
Sani admitted that the Dawashi, Daban Masara and Malan Karanticommunities are well known hideouts of the insurgents and added that a Quick Reaction Group from MNJTF had been deployed to the area to maintain the peace.
In the second incident, another set of vigilante youths leftMaiduguri to hunt for members of the sect in Mainok. However, it was gathered that as they returned from the exercise, they were ambushed by the insurgents who succeeded in killing five of the young men.
The youths were said to have succeeded in arresting some members of the sect last Friday and were returning to Maiduguri to hand them over to the Joint Task Force, JTF, when they ran into a well plotted ambush and an army of heavily armed insurgents a fewkilometres from Mainok on the Maiduguri-Kano road.
One of the youths who escaped the ambush, Isa Inuwa, told journalists that the insurgents “attacked one of our taxis conveying the two arrested suspects to Maiduguri for handover to Joint Task Force (JTF).”
“They came out from the bush in two Hilux vehicles; and started firing at the taxi carrying the suspects. Two minutes after, one of us was shot dead in the chest, while the others received various injuries,” he explained.
He said further: “We had to flee because of the superior firing powers of the Boko Haram gunmen; and rushed the injured youth to the Umaru Shehu Hospital, Bulunkutu for treatment yesterday.”