Kevwe Ebireri, Abuja/Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
The convoy of governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State was attacked in two separate incidents on Tuesday by suspected herdsmen while on his way to Guma local government area of the state, just as suspected members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect attacked the convoy of Gwoza (Borno State) council chairman, Hamman Jumba Ahmadu, destroying two vehicles and leaving three policemen and two drivers missing.
The governor’s convoy was also attacked by the hoodlums at Tse-Akenyi while on his way to Gbajimba, leading to an exchange of gunfire between Suswam’s security guards and the herdsmen.
Suswam commended his security details for their courage and resoluteness in repelling the attackers and charged the people of the area to defend themselves as the security agents seem unable to provide them with the required protection.
“This is beyond the herdsmen, this is real war. Please return to your homes and defend your land, do not allow anybody to make you slaves in your home land. If the security agents, especially the military, cannot provide security for us we will defend ourselves,” he said.
Narrating his experience, he said: “On my way to this place, they exchanged gun shots with us for over one hour before we were able to come here. I cannot abandon you people at this point in time to die. You voted me to provide security for you and that I must do that for you. These Fulani are not like the real Fulanis we used to know.”
Meanwhile, the convoy of the chairman of Gwoza Council area in Borno State on Monday ran into a siege laid by members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect at a blown-up bridge on Bama-Gwoza road and three policemen, as well as two civilians, drivers in the convoy, are said to be missing.
Relating the incident to journalists in Maiduguri on Tuesday, a driver attached to Borno State Government House, Maiduguri, Mallam Baba, said the convoy was returning from a visit to Gwoza and Barawa village when they “were surrounded by several gunmen at the destroyed Firgi Bridge who shot sporadically from all directions causing three drivers to reverse and escape, while two other vehicles, including my Hilux vehicle were abandoned. I had to crawl for about 300 metres to escape from the insurgents.”
He said that the gunmen might have come from the Sambisa Forest, adding that the destruction of the bridge by the gunmen was to cut off the 256-kilometre Maiduguri-Bama-Gwoza-Mubi road in order to ambush and kill innocent people on that road which link several towns and villages.
A team with the assistance of military has been dispatched to the area in search of the five missing persons.