Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
The outlawed Boko Haram sect continued its rule of terror in Borno State with the killing of at least 40 persons in Jakana, 35 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the state capital on Monday night.
This is the fourth attack in the series which began three days ago with a twin bombing of Ajilari- Bintu Sugar that left 52 persons dead. Another assault on Mainok left 39 dead, while 35 persons, including three police officers, were killed in Mafa Sunday night.
In the latest incident, gunmen believed to be members of the Boko Haram stormed Jakana in their usual manner, setting houses ablaze and shooting down anyone sighted trying to escape.
They also burnt down the only surviving police station on the Maiduguri/Damaturu highway in Jakana as they had done to the others in previous attacks, killing two policemen in the process.
Residents who survived the attack said they initially thought their assailants were members of the Army (probably because they wore military uniforms which they often use to disguise) until they heard them shout their usual victory slogan ‘Allahu Akbar’ andstarted shooting the villagers.
Most residents took to their heels but for the elderly who could not run. These, the insurgents burnt alive, even as some of those who fled were hit by bullets.
“There was nobody living in the town except for security officials, who are still combing the area to restore normalcy,” a resident said.
The senator representing the area, Ahmed Zannah, who spoke to journalists on phone said eleven elderly people were set on fire and many have been forced to flee the town.
Zannah also said that the soldiers in the area initially fled on sighting the insurgents but later summoned courage to engage them in a fight when they discovered that the insurgents were not many.
He said the insurgents were forced to flee when they saw the military approach but with a warning that they would be back to complete their unfinished business.
Attempts to get any official confirmation were unsuccessful as the police commissioner, Tanko Lawan, declined commenting on the attack but directed journalists to contact the spokesman of the command, Gideon Jubrin, who could not be reached.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishop of Maiduguri Diocese, Oliver Dashe Doeme, has linked insurgency in the north to the prevailing corruption and unemployment in the country, stressing that “if corruption goes there will be no Boko Haram, no kidnapping, no armed robbery. Even if they exist it will be minimal. If Nigerians are empowered they will not be employed into some of these vices”.
He lamented that since the inception of the insurgency in the region in 2009, over 20 churches and priests’ residences had been burnt and over 500 members of the church killed.
He called on the federal government to tackle insecurity in the country by fighting corruption headlong, adding that religion should not be mixed with politics and that the military should be well equipped to curtail the insurgency.
He also appealed to the insurgents drop their arms and embrace the dialogue offered by the federal government in other to promote peace and progress in the region.