© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Curfew Imposed On Gombe After Boko Haram Attack
A 24-hour curfew has been imposed on Gombe, the capital of Gombe State, and its environs following a failed attempt by the deadly Boko Haram insurgents to capture the town.
The secretary to the state government, Abubakar Bage, who announced the imposition of the curfew in a statement, said that the state governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, who was out of the state, had directed that all movements be restricted in the state capital except for essential services.
Residents said that Nigerian troops battled the insurgents for hours before they could be dislodged. Ground troops were aided by Nigerian Fighter Jets which helped locate the insurgents before taking them down.
Residents of Gombe said that hundreds of Boko Haram insurgents in several Hilux trucks launched an attack on the state capital as early as 8.00 am, shooting indiscriminately and detonating improvised explosive devices, IEDs.
“We were preparing to go out when I heard the first explosion. That was around 8 in the morning. The next thing we heard were sporadic gunshots,” Maryam Umar, a resident told our reporter on the phone, adding, “We have been forced to remain indoors.”
Another resident, Bello Yakong, said he was on his way from Billiri when somebody called him not to make the journey, as the town was under siege.
“I was planning to travel back to Abuja tomorrow (Sunday), so I decided to leave for Gombe today to pass the night so that I would be at the park early. But as we approached Kumo, a town about 20km to the state capital, my cousin called and said Gombe was a no-go area. Our driver had to make a U-turn,” he said.
However, as at the time of filing this report, the situation had calmed down, with residents reporting that there were no more sounds of explosion or gunshots.
“We just heard there is curfew but we do not know for how long, even though there are no more explosions or gunshots heard,” Maryam said.
The insurgents apparently targeted military and other security installations and are believed to have attacked the 301 Artillery Regiment barracks and the Quarter Guard of the Nigerian Army along Biu road in Gombe, where several vehicles were said to have been destroyed. The insurgents also attacked some police posts in the town.
The police public relations officer in Gombe, Fwaji Atajiri, a Deputy Superintendent, who confirmed the attack, told journalists that security forces were working hard to restore peace in the town.
Gombe has come under attacks in the past, with the most recent being when President Goodluck Jonathan went for a rally in January.