Boko Haram kills 50, seizes military base in Baga

Gunmen Boko-Haram
  • FG alleges sabotage on Borno blackout
  • As explosion kills 1, injures others in Adamawa

From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri, Ado Abubakar Musa, Jos and Umar Dankano, Yola.

About 50 villagers and scores of soldiers attached to the  Multinational Joint Task Force, (MNJTF)  were reportedly killed on Saturday morning by suspected Boko Haram insurgents who invaded Baga town  in Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State, residents and security sources told newsmen.

This is coming as the Federal government yesterday alleged that the prevalent blackout in Borno state was the handiwork of saboteurs and insurgents.

Similarly, an improvised explosive device, IEDS, suspected to be abandoned by Boko Haram insurgents, yesterday in Lugda Village of Maiha Loval Government in Adamawa state, went off killing one person and injured two others.

This is just as reports from Maza village in the northern Cameroon confirmed that about 11 persons were killed and scores of others wounded in another attack suspected to have been launched by the Nigerian Boko Haram insurgents.

Baga town, located along the Lake Chad shores in the northern Borno senatorial district, is a farming and fishing community which had suffered several deadly attacks in the past. 48 fishermen from the same village had their throats slashed by the insurgents in November last year.

Sources in the village recounted that over 300 insurgents, armed with sophisticated weapons and explosives, drove into the area in three armored vehicles, 50 Toyata Hilux vehicles and several motorcyles, before launching the daring attack on the headquarters of the MNJTF.

Similarly, anti-air craft guns, General Purpose Machine Gubs, (GPMG) and other assault rifles were mounted on some of the vehicles used in the attack.

Residents who escaped the siege said scores of security forces were killed with others wounded when the militants attacked the military base, forcing the soldiers to flee.

It was also learnt that the troops, which were taken unawares, though attempted to repel the attack, were however overpowered following high number of the insurgents and superior firearms used by the invaders.

“Several soldiers were killed during the encounter and others wounded but I can’t say if there is any casualty recorded from the side of the militants. All I know was that Boko Haram fighters have dislodged the military from the barrack, with the soldiers fleeing into various locations. Presently, the militants are now in control of the base”, a resident, Goni Kachallah said.

It was also gathered that after dislodging the security forces, the invaders stormed Baga and other neigbboring villages, shooting everyone at sight. About 210 houses, many shops and stalls were reportedly destroyed with explosive devices and petrol bombs.

The attack which started around 6am lasted till 12pm, survivors said. Some villagers escaped the attack. “As I talk to you now, people have deserted the village while dead bodies litter the streets”, Musa Bulama, a villager who escaped to Maiduguri told newsmen. “Beside the over dead bodies that I saw, many traders and residents sustained burns,” he said.

But commenting on the prevailing blackout in Borno, Minister of State for Power, Alhaji Mohammed Wakil, yesterday blamed the prolonged power outage in the state on sabotage and insurgency.

This was made known in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Olawale Rasheed in Maiduguri.

According to him, the government had made several attempts at restoring the power supply, which was cut off in June 2014 after a suspected terror attack on the Damboa Power Sub-station.

“The Federal Ministry of Power has repeatedly moved to reconnect Maiduguri to national grid but insurgency and sabotage have so far delayed the realisation of that goal. In the last seven months when the power lines and sub-station at Damboa were attacked, the ministry through the Transmission Company of Nigeria, made at least seven attempts to rectify the problem but on each occasion, the officials were attacked.’’

He said that the development prompted the ministry of power to seek assistance from the military on reconnection.

In a related development, a Voice of America (VOA Hausa) reports monitored in Jos yesterday disclosed that the insurgents in Maza, northern Cameroon, suddenly opened fire on a traveling bus to Marwa town, killing 11 on the spot and wounding many others.

A Cameroon security official was quoted in the report to have said that the causality figure could rise to over 25 as the attack was too bad.

On the Adamawa explosion where one person was killed in Lugda village, reports had it that the victims were yesterday, at about 6:30am, warming their bodies with the local firewood due to harmattan when one of them threw a polythene bag into the fire to enhance energy production.

Unknown to him however, the bag contained explosives which blew up killing one instantly and injuring several others who were rushed to Federal Medical Centre, Yola, for treatment.

Confirming the incident, Adamawa state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Othman Abubakar, explained that the accident occurred as a result of ignorance of the victims who acted without prior knowledge of the content of the bag.

Abubakar therefore charged the public to be more vigilant and avoid touching any strange object just as he called on them to always assist security agents with useful information for them to take proactive measures in preventing such accidents.

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