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Soldiers Foil Bomb Attack On Maiduguri IDP Camp
Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
Nigerian soldiers on Saturday averted a bomb attack on an Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camp in Maiduguri when they defused two bombs discovered on the camp grounds located at the Government Girls Secondary School, GGSS, Yerwa.
Following the renewed campaign by Nigerian and regional troops to crush Boko Haram terrorists and the reclaiming of territories previously captured by them, the insurgents have been attacking soft targets which in Borno State have included markets and motor parks.
Government Girls College, Yerwa, where the bombs were found is only a few metres from the Borno Express Motor Park which was recently targeted by suicide bombers.
It was gathered the bombs were defused by soldiers from the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, following the arrests made at a bomb making site in the Borno State capital..
A source in the IDP camp told our correspondent that the soldiers had conducted a raid on a compound in Maiduguri metropolis after a tip off where they arrested many people, including some people from the camp.
The soldiers reportedly headed to the camp with one of the arrested youths who led them to the site where the bombs had been buried in the ground.
Our source said that several soldiers arrived at the IDP camp in the afternoon and asked all displaced persons and officials to gather at a point and explained to them that bombs had been planted in the camp but assured them that there was no cause for alarm as the culprits had been arrested and was helping in dealing with the situation.
A youth, whom the source said is well known in the camp but whom nobody had suspected to be a member of Boko Haram sect, was brought out of one of the military vehicles to identify the location where the bombs were buried.
The soldiers, it was gathered, opened fire on the location where the bombs were planted effectively defusing them
The IDP camp in Yerwa was set up in September, 2014 to accommodate people who had been displaced from Bama local government area after a terrorist attack on the town.
The military authorities had in the past called for vigilance, warning that some of the insurgents after carrying out attacks mingle with residents and equally seek refuge in camps set up by government to take care of displaced persons.
After the foiled bomb attempt, it was gathered on Sunday that the Borno state government had purchased some security equipment, including body scanners for all of the camps set up for displaced persons in the state.
Speaking on phone with journalists on Sunday, the chairman of Borno State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Grema Terab who expressed dismay that anybody would want to harm or add to the sorrows of the displaced persons, said that the state government had bought scanners and other security gadgets for use in all IDP camps to prevent any future planned attack.
“These are people who have lost almost everything they had and are depending on government for the basics of life, what could they have done that after all the losses, someone is still interested in sending them to an early grave,”Terab lamented.
He said that the scanners had already been purchased and would soon be distributed to the camps While giving assurances that the state government was doing everything within its powers to secure the IDP camps, he added that the foiled bomb attack was a wakeup call for the government to do even more to ensure the security and safety of the residents of the camps.
“The Saturday foiled attack has further woken up all security operatives and has gone a long way to make us add more security checks,” Terab stated.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Borno State has called for an investigation into the foiled bomb attack on the IDP camp in Maiduguri, alleging that the explosive devices might have been planted by persons who are hell bent on scuttling the coming general elections
The party’s chairman in Borno State, Ali Bukar Dalori, said in a statement that there is an urgent need for an investigation to determine if the attempt has anything to do with the opposition expressed in some quarters against allowing the polls to be held in IDP camps
While commending the soldiers who foiled the bomb attempt, Dalori expressed concern that the insurgents could infiltrate the camp.
“The APC is deeply worried that buried explosives were found at an IDP camp established at Yerwa Girls College in Maiduguri just when it is known to all citizens of Borno State and other Nigerians that members of the PDP affiliated to a former Governor of Borno State have consistently disapproved on-going plans by INEC to hold elections in all the camps being managed by the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, the National Emergency Management Agency, the Nigerian Red Cross and the military so that citizens displaced as a result of insurgency attacks and occupation in affected local government areas can exercise their voting rights,” he stated
The APC chairman also observed that in its opposition to the holding of elections in the IDP camps, some PDP members in the state had called for the return of displaced persons to their homes in territories that have been liberated from the insurgents, but warned that their safety must be guaranteed.
“A serving member of House of Representatives under the PDP recently reaffirmed PDP’s opposition to elections holding in camps. Another serving member of House of Reps even went as far as speaking at plenary trying to get the House to push for IDPs urgent return to liberated communities for the purpose of elections as against conducting elections at IDP camps,” Dalori observed.
He said further that the APC does not “have the slightest opposition against elections holding in liberated communities” noting that ‘the same persons that will vote in the camps are the same persons to vote if they are returned to liberated communities.”
The concern of the party, he said, “is that of safety of these liberated communities given the fact that insurgency attacks were only recently recorded along Ngamdu in Kaga local government area, which is near Maiduguri, the safest part of the state.”
“The possibility of fleeing insurgents hiding in some villages outside headquarters of local government areas is something to be concerned about hence the need to take some time to get over these threats where they exist,” he cautioned.