- As death toll in Kaduna, Bauchi attacks rise
From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri, Femi Oyelola, Kaduna & Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi
It was another bloody weekend in Borno state as unspecified numbers of civilians were killed yesterday morning when suspected Boko Haram insurgents carried out multiple attacks in four communities near Chibok town, residents told Peoples Daily.
Residents said dozens of villagers may have been killed when over 30 militants, driven in five Hilux vehicles and several bikes stormed Kwada, Kautikari, Nasarawa as well as Gwaradina villages about near Chibok, shooting everyone at sight.
Although there were conflicting figures on the casualties, sources said those killed could exceed 50 residents of the four villages.
Several other persons were also wounded even as the invaders have equally set houses, shops and places of worships on fire.
It was learnt that, Kwada village was the first target as the invaders attacked various churches, firing sporadic shots on worshippers and detonated explosives.
The assailants have reportedly attacked three places of worship comprising of Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), EYN and Deeper Life Bible Church.
Witnesses explained that the militants split themselves into different groups, with each group targeting a particular church, thereby launching coordinated attacks.
According to an eye witness who did want his name mentioned, worshippers were busy observing church services in different areas when the gunmen denoted explosives outside the churches, forcing the people to scampered for safety.
However, the insurgents opened fire on the fleeing worshippers, killing several on the spot, while others escaped with gunshot injuries.
Another resident who declined identification, described the onslaught as “pathetic”, saying “they did not spare women, children and the old”.
“Though we cannot ascertain the number of the death so far recorded from the incident in the three churches, but we believed the casualty is too high. Had it been that the military had responded to distress calls early, the effect of the attacks would have been minimized”, the resident said.
Sources said after unleashing terror on the first community, the militants proceeded to the nearby Kautikari village and attacked civilian locations.
An indigene of the area who lives in Maiduguri, Mr. Janah Peter, who spoke to our correspondent on phone, said he lost two brothers in the attack when the gunmen fired Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) into their family house.
Peter explained that the attackers who were in full military uniforms, may have driven into the area in military-coloured pick-up vans and motor circles from their major hide-out inside Sambisa forest, which is not far from the scene of the incident.
“Upon arriving into the area, the assailants started shooting everyone at sight, while they stormed various houses, throwing explosives.
Those who came out to escape into the bush were trailed and killed by bike-riding gunmen. Presently, several dead bodies of people who attempted to escape were yet to be recovered from the bush”, he said.
According to him, though security operatives in Chibok and Damboa towns received distress calls put across by residents, they responded after the insurgents have already sacked the village.
Authorities of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maiduguri, were not available for comments as at press time.
However a top security source who declined identification, confirmed both attacks, saying: “Yes, we also received the report; I believe action was already taken before now. But no one has been able to ascertain the nature or magnitude of the attack for now”.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Friday night attack by unknown gunmen in Ninzom village in Sanga local government area of Kaduna state has risen.
The National President of Ninzom Progressive Youths, (NPY), Mr Bezard Wuyah disclosed to the media in Kaduna yesterday, that the latest killings have raised the death toll to 200.
Also, the Chairman, Sanga local government, Mr. Emmanuel Adamu, confirmed the incident, but refused to give figure. He however said that on Thursday, 110 bodies from the earlier attacks were given mass burial, after many other families took away the corpses of their loves ones for burial.
Spokesman, Kaduna state police command, DSP Aminu Lawan, however denied having reports of any attack outside that of Monday to Wednesday last week.
Reports indicated that virtually all Ninzom villages, including Gwantu, the headquarters of Sanga local government, have been deserted by the people in fear of attacks.
Mr. Wuyah, confirmed to our correspondent that some of the affected villages visited were empty. “Right now, we have been touring some of the villages affected, Ambie, a village of about 5,000 people was ransacked. We lost 30 people, and I am told that there are more corpses in the bushes.
“In Paa, a village close to Gwantu, the town was attacked and over 10 people were killed. The town is also burnt down. The entire villages are now empty. I am now in Gwantu, with Kaduna state Commissioner of Water Resources, Mr. Audu Dogo. He can testify to what I am saying”.
On whether there is any response from the state Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and or the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the chairman of Sanga local government said: “Up to today both SEMA and NEMA have not come here and the people are suffering.
“But the problem is that they are careful about their movement because of the news of several on-going attacks.
“I have only been able to arrange some few things for them. I am sure that NEMA and SEMA will arrive anytime from now. And we need well meaning Nigerians to send assistance,” he said.
On his part, Mr. Wuyah, said number of refugees has increased to over 50,000, adding that the primary and secondary schools, as well as police stations in Gwantu were all filled up with starving children and women, some of them bereaved of their bread winners, while others have moved to Kafanchan, Kagoro, Gidan Waya and Akwanga in Nasarawa state.
Similarly, the death toll from a bomb explosion on a brothel in Bauchi metropolis Friday night has risen to 13, while 34 injured victims are receiving treatment at the ATBU Teaching hospital in the city.
The Bauchi state Commissioner of Health, Dr. Sani Mallami told newsmen at the weekend, that three more persons among those injured in the Friday blast at People’s Hotel in Bayan Gari, Bauchi, have died at the hospital.
The health commissioner explained that some victims who were rushed to other smaller clinics within the town were later transferred to the ATBUTH for proper attention.
The Bauchi state Police Commissioner, Lawal Shehu said: “The entire surrounding has been cordoned off and the scene secured by police Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit (EOD), and that one suspect was arrested and investigation has since commenced.
No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion.