Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
Just as the country continues to mourn Thursday’s bomb blast in the Nyanya area of Abuja which left may people dead, suspected Boko Haram men have launched simultaneous attacks on Borno State that left not less than 29 persons dead.
Sources say of the 29 persons killed, ten were innocent residents, while the remaining 19 were members of the sect.
According to reports, the first attack occurred in Beneisheikh town, along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, as the armed militants barricaded the expressway and attacked travellers, killing ten of them.
This made several other travellers on the road to make a forced detour with several others abandoning their vehicles and taking to their heels in all directions.
It was also gathered that several persons got bullet injuries from the sporadic gunshots of the insurgents who shot indiscriminately in the direction of the fleeing commuters.
A military source told journalists that the gunmen numbering over 30 emerged from their hide-out inside Sambisa forest armed with sophisticated weapons with which they unleashed terror.
The source said although ten persons were seen slaughtered on the highway long after the insurgents had left, the death toll may be higher as some persons could have been killed afterwards when the insurgents began to fire at all directions when they saw people fleeing.
“The terrorists’ bullets might have killed several passengers as they shot at some vehicles when the drivers refused to stop and ran over the roadblock,” the source disclosed.
Another source said some motorists upon sighting the danger, hurriedly reversed and quickly drove towards Maiduguri, while others escaped towards Damaturu.
The sources added that security forces, however, responded swiftly and mobilized to the scene and succeeded in killing some of the terrorists in a gun-duel with others fleeing into the bush.
In another incident which occurred in Gwoza town which has become notorious lately for the numerous killings perpetrated there by insurgents, 19 members of sect were said to have been killed in a gun battle with soldiers.
The attack which lasted for about three hours happened when the militants stormed a security checkpoint mounted by the military, leading to a fierce shoot-out.
A resident of the area who spoke anonymously on phone to journalists, said the attackers emerged from the Gwoza hills, took the soldiers unawares and initially had an upper hand before the soldiers responded with “disciplined attack”.
The source explained that the invaders threw several Improvised Explosive Devices, (IEDs) into the direction of the military, before opening fire.
The source added that the killed insurgents looked like teenagers, insisting that “by mere looking at all the slain terrorists, you will know that they were between the ages of 15 and 17”.