Fear of attack: Yola schools close down, parents withdraw wards

Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau
Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau

From Umar Dankano, Yola , with agency report

Worried about the safety of their children amid rumours that Boko Haram insurgents might attack Yola, the Adamawa State Capital, Secondary schools have started temporarily closing down over fear of uncertainty.

Investigations by our correspondent in Yola revealed that many parents are afraid of a repeat of what happened to Chibok students that are yet to be re-united with their loved ones since their captivity seven months ago.

Also, boarding students of Ramat College and Government Girls College in Yola were seen vacating hostels with their luggage at the weekend.

Boko Haram insurgents have recently occupied the second largest town of Mubi in addition to Michika and Madagali areas with thousands of residents displaced to other towns and neighboring states.

Confirming the development, the Director of Press and Public Affairs in the Governor’s office, Mr. Phineas Elisha said although government did not order the closure, parents are taking their children home.

He said he had gone on air to dispel fear and reassure parents of safety of students in the state but that they remained adamant.

A parent, Daje Lantan said the parents wanted to avert repeat of Chibok experience, saying their children will stay at home until normalcy returns.

Primary schools in the state have conducted prayer sessions on Friday to seek divine intervention against the insecurity situation.

Boko Haram forces Mubi General Hospital open, attends to patients

n Mubi, Adamawa State, which authorities of the Boko Haram took over a week ago, the insurgents have reopened the General Hospital where their members with medical knowledge now attend to patients.

A resident of Mubi who managed to escape told our correspondent that pharmaceutical shops closed by owners who ran away were forced open and the drugs evacuated to the hospital.

“They (insurgents) also evacuated drugs from drug stores near Mubi old motor park where dealers from Cameroon and drug sellers from across Mubi Zone use to come and purchase their supply”, the resident who simply identified himself as Ali said.

Ali explained that the insurgents who were trying to woo the residents to remain calm and go about their normal business in the “Caliphate” were dispensing free medical services.

“Their members and some patients particularly women with children and very sick patients are visiting the hospital.

“They have also started taking census of women whose husbands have run away leaving them behind.

“They consider such women as abandoned property belonging to the caliphate to be married off to interested men at the payment of N2000 dowry”, Ali said.

Also speaking on his experience, a resident of Uba town also under the control of the insurgent, Buba Manpaya, said Boko Haram authorities in Uba have suspended issuance of fuel to the public.

Manpaya said petrol is now being reserved for Boko Haram members on patrol and members of the public who offer essential service such as water vendors who need it for their boreholes.

Manpaya said the insurgents who are trying to be friendly with residents to support their caliphate allow people to move around on motor-cycles and bicycles.

” To be on the safer side people use rickety motor-cycle; if your motor-cycle is new or sounded very strong, some Boko Haram members will seize it and tell you that they needed it for the work of God”, Mampaya said.

He also explained that in Uba which is yet to be renamed like Mubi, the insurgents have started inscribing ” Lailla ha Il La Alah” meaning there is no god but Allah on signboards across the town.

Mampaya said the insurgents who frown at group movement in or out of town do allow an individual in or out after screening which involved answering questions on why they want to go out or come in.

“At times when one is going out they retrieve cell phone sim cards or the entire handset and ask the individual to come back and collect them whenever he returns from the trip outside the caliphate”, Manpaya said.

“They will chat you and promise you better life under Shekau’s caliphate; they will tell you that God is on their side and that is why they are winning war with example of how less than one hundred of them took over Mubi which has hundreds of soldiers in less than an hour”, Manpaya said.

He urged government to do something urgently as the insurgents mean business and are not only bent on consolidating their hold on captured territories but adding new ones as soon as they can.

Meanwhile, a special prayer was yesterday observed by Muslims and Christians across Adamawa state for peace and an end to insurgency in the state.

The Chief Imam of Yola Central Mosque Imam Kadi Bobboi Ahmadu, who led Muslim faithful in the two rakaat special prayer urged faithful to be more prayerful and engage mending their habits that were against the teachings of the Prophet and Holy Quran.

New video shows Shekau patrolling seized territories

new Boko Haram video obtained by AFP on Sunday shows militants on an armoured vehicle parading down a road in an unidentified town they apparently control and the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau preaching to locals.

It was not possible to tell whether the footage was staged for propaganda purposes, especially scenes of residents cheering the fighters.

The message appeared to be aimed at reinforcing Shekau’s claim that he has created a caliphate within Nigeria.

In the 44-minute video, Boko Haram voices support for other so-called caliphates, including the one proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Shekau, who is pictured in close-up shots with rare clarity, again dismissed government claims about ceasefire talks.

The video, which was delivered through the same channels as past messages, shows armed men lined along a well-paved road, with three pick-up trucks bristling with heavy weapons also visible.

Black, crested flags associated with the group are also shown.

Later, an armoured vehicle rolls down the road lined with both fighters and individuals who appear to be residents of the town.

Boko Haram has released a series of videos showing similar military hardware, equipment it says was stolen from the Nigerian military. Such claims have been impossible to verify.

No women or girls are seen on the street or anywhere else in the footage.

Most of the message is taken up by a sermon from Shekau, delivered indoors but apparently played on a speaker to locals assembled outside.

“We have indeed established an Islamic caliphate,” he said, restating a claim he first made in August.

The images of the sermon include unusually clear closeups of the Nigerian militant leader.

A graphic shown later includes a picture the IS group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as well as a portion of the message his group issued on July 1 proclaiming a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Iraq on Sunday was investigating whether Baghdadi was killed in air strikes by US-led coalition warplanes.

Nigeria maintains it is still negotiating with Boko Haram envoys in neighbouring Chad and that a disputed October 17 ceasefire declaration remains viable.

Violence has however continued and the fighters are believed to control more than two dozen towns and villages in the northeast.

“There is no truce between me and Nigerian tyrants,” Shekau said, dismissing the credibility of Danladi Amhadu, the purported rebel negotiator.

 

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