Maiduguri, (Nigerian Tribune): REPORTS reaching the Nigerian Tribune in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, has revealed that thousands of Nigerians living in Ngamboru Ngala Local Government Area of the state have fled their homes to Cameroon to seek refuge, following attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents, which left about 300 dead on Sunday and Monday, with an increasing figure on another attack by the same sect members on Tuesday.
It was gathered that on Monday, Boko Haram gunmen, driven in armoured vehicles, stormed Gamborou Ngala town at a local market and fired sporadic shots into the crowd.
The senator representing Borno Central at the upper chambers of the National Assembly, Senator Ahmed Zanna, who confirmed the killings, added that the invaders spent 12 hours wreaking havoc on the town.
Gamborou, situated on Nigeria-Cameroon border, is the administrative headquatres of Ngala Local Government Area, about 200km from Maiduguri, the capital city.
According to the senator, several other persons were also injured in the attack, while almost all the houses and shops in the town were burnt.
Senator Zanna, who spoke in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa report monitored in Maiduguri, on Wednesday, said many people were wounded, while surviving victims were rendered homeless, as thousands of houses and shops were burnt by the rampaging gunmen.
He pointed out that the attackers were armed with weapons including Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), Improvised Explosive Devices, (IEDs), petrol bombs, assault rifles and Rocket Propelled Launchers (RPGs).
“The attackers stormed the communities in the night when residents were still sleeping, setting ablaze houses and shot residents who tried to escaped from the fire,’’ he said.
According to him, “about 300 persons were confirmed dead after the incident, with several others injured. Almost all the houses in the communities were destroyed by the hoodlums who threw IEDs at the buidings.
“My brother, who was at the scene of the attack, told me that the actual number of the dead cannot be ascertained but, at least, they are up to 300. In fact, as we spoke, he wept, following the high number of the dead bodies which littered the market.”
According to him, the security forces earlier deployed to the area had moved to the Lake Chad axis when they received intelligence report that some gunmen were sighted with abducted schoolgirls moving to the area.
“Initially there were many security operatives in the town to secure it from possible attacks. However, upon receiving information over the movements of insurgents with kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls towards Lake Chad area, they withdrew and moved further to confront the gunmen.
“It was just an hour after their withdrawal that the terrorists indaved the town, shooting everyone at sight and setting buildings on fire. So far, 200 vehicles and thousands of houses, shops and an outfit of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) were all burnt,” he explained.
A local government official, who declined identification, also confirmed the casualty figures.
“It is really a terrible situation. We had wanted to rush relief materials to the area to provide temporary succor to the victims. But we were prevailed upon by security agents to shelve our plans or security reasons,” he said.
The official appealed to the state and federal government to assist the area with resources towards rehabilitating the victims. A resident of Ngala, Malam Bunu Ngala, who spoke with Nigerian Tribune in Maiduguri, on Wednesday, said all their people had relocated to Cameroon, which is the nearest and safe haven for them.
According to him, there was also an attack on Monday where scores were killed, adding to the number already reported in some national dailies.
“From what we were told, only few houses are now standing and you know Ngala is a big town, a commercial city so to say. It is the linking business empire of the people of Cameroon and Tchad through to Central African Republic. I believe our population is between 700,000 to 1 million or more.” he said.
Calls put through the lines of the state Police Commissioner, Tanko Lawan and the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Muhammadu Dole, were not replied.
Also, text messages sent to them for an update on the situation in Ngala were not replied.
Police offer N50m reward for information
THE Nigeria Police, on Wednesday, announced a cash reward of N50 million to anyone who volunteers credible information that will lead to the location and rescue of the female students abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
The Force, which made the announcement through a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Frank Mbah, also released phone numbers to be contacted in case of such information.
The phone numbers are: 09-2914649, 08081777309, 08055547536, 08032125050, 08034617591 and 08035969731. The police called on the general public to be part of the solution to the present security challenge.
It also reassured all citizens that any information given would be treated with utmost confidentiality.
…Stop civil society rally in Kogi State
CITING inconducive security situation in the state, the Kogi State Police Command, on Wednesday, denied the civil society organisation in the state the request sought for a peaceful rally to sympathise with parents of the abducted Chibok girls.
The police, in the letter entitled: “Re: Invitation to a State Rally on the Current State of Violence in Nigeria” and signed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, addressed to Victor Adejoh, the programme director of ActionAid, on behalf of others, said “I am directed by the Commissioner of Police to draw your attention to the fact that this period is not conducive security wise for such a rally. “It is, therefore, advised that it be put off /postponed till future date.”
However, the concerned civil society, in a statement, said it was worrisome and unacceptable that one month after the abduction, the Federal Government and its security agencies had not been able to locate and rescue the innocent girls.
The statement, signed by Victor and five others, explained that as an organisation and parents, “we share the pain and anguish of the parents and guardians of the abducted girls.”
Gov Shettima, school authorities have questions to answer —CAN
CHRISTIAN Association of Nigeria, Northern States and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, has said the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima and the school authorities of Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, have a case to answer over the abduction of schoolgirls partaking in the examinations of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
Apart from this, CAN in the North also claimed that the number of students abducted was 353 and not 234 as being claimed.
CAN, in a statement on Wednesday by Professor Daniel Babayi (Secretary-General) and Sunday Oibe (Public Relations Officer, said there were pertinent questions that Shettima and the school authorities needed to answer on the abduction of the girls.
CAN also questioned the school authorities over their role in the abduction and why none of their children was abducted.