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Published On: Thu, Aug 21st, 2014

Boko Haram takes over Police College in Gwoza

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boko-haram-groupMany feared killed

Equip soldiers to fight insurgents – Ohanaeze

From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri & Ado Abubakar Musa, Jos

Inspecified numbers of regular policemen on a mandatory course for conversion into Police Mobile Force, (PMF) and suspected Boko Haram insurgents were reportedly killed when heavily armed militants invaded the famous Mobile Police Training College in Limankara village, Gwoza local government area of Borno state.

The incident, according to the BBC Hausa service report monitored in Jos, occurred on Wednesday evening, when residents of the area were going about their daily activities.

Our correspondent reported that this is coming barely two weeks after insurgents attacked Gwoza town where hundreds were killed and property worth millions of naira got burnt. They hoisted the sect’s flag in the town and appointed an Emir to administer the strategic north-eastern township, after the town’s traditional ruler escaped with other refugees.

The training center was one of the few government facilities that remained out of the control of the sect, until the latest massive onslaught by the insurgents.

Due to absence of telecommunication services in the area, details of the incident were not immediately available as at press time.

However, credible sources who spoke to newsmen in confidence said the insurgents have chased away the trainees and took over the college after a fierce gun-duel.

Limankara community is south of Gwoza and about 15 kilometres from Gwoza town. The Police Mobile Training base attracted officers and men of the Nigerian Police from all parts of the country for an anti-riot training.

Sources hinted that over 100 insurgents, armed with sophisticated weapons, stormed the college with five armoured tanks, several Hilux vehicles and bikes, stormed the base and engaged the police in a shoot-out, which lasted for several hours.

The sources added that the college has five units of police ocers in training at the time of the attack, with each unit having 59 trainees and a unit commander.

Among those undergoing training at the college were two mobile police (MOPOL) units from Nasarawa and Gombe states and a mobile police unit from Abuja. Other units from Zamfara state were also at the college during the attack.

Further investigation revealed that scores of trainees were killed or seriously injured by the militants who carried out the attack.

Those who survived the attack had to run to the mountains nearby, others who narrowly escaped death by the whiskers managed to flee to Adamawa state.

Emmanuel Ojukwu who is the police spokesperson confirmed the incident, but could not give full details.

He said, “Yes of course, some gunmen have attacked the Mobile Police Training College in Liman Kara, close to Gwoza town in Borno state, but, cannot ascertain the destruction.”

However, a soldier operating close to the venue of the attack revealed to People’s

Daily that scores of people were killed, stressing that lots of police were in classes receiving lectures when the insurgents invaded the training school. He added that until yesterday no security team was sent to the area to see what had happened and the insurgents had taken the control of the college.

Asked why they did not confront the attackers as security personnel operating in the area. The soldier responded that, “who will go there without sophisticated gun like theirs. They have the kind of weapon which we do not have and therefore we cannot confront them. ”

When BBC asked Ojukwu on the casualty figure and the degree of destruction after the attack, Ojukwu said, ” well, I cannot tell you the number of people killed or injured. I cannot also give the detailed information of the destruction.

Similarly, Senator Muhammad Ali Ndume, who represents the area in the National Assembly, confirmed the incident in a BBC Hausa report monitored in Maiduguri.

“Reports reaching me from the area indicates that the insurgents attacked the training camp, but can’t say how many people were affected in the incident”, Senator Ndume added.

According to a resident from the area who spoke to BBC on the condition of anonymity narrated that, “we were sitting in group when suddenly we heard gunshots from different directions. Before you know, we started seeing people in soldier’s uniform on motorcycles and vehicles chanting and shooting towards the college and from there we all took to our heels.

“Shortly before the attack, we saw men of the Mobile police force in two different cars entering the college but went out few minutes later and soon as they went out, the insurgents launched the assault,” the resident added.

Meanwhile, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze N’digbo, has asked the Federal Government to empower the security forces to win the war against Boko Haram insurgents, by providing them with all the necessary equipment and materials.

The group noted that the security agencies would be able to perform their responsibilities of defending the nation if given the right materials and resources to achieve their mandate.

The President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey, who stated this when he visited the Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, in Abuja on Thursday, explained that the security

operatives need the right equipment to protect lives and properties and save the nation from the ravages of terrorists.

“We are asking that government should do more in providing all the necessary equipment required to achieve this goal, they must have the right equipment, their morale must be good, because they are

fighting for us, so we can’t expect less from them, because when they have the right equipment, they are better able to defend and protect their lives so that they will do service for us another day.”

 

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