Maiduguri, Nigeria—The upsurge of deadly attacks by Islamists continues in Nigeria. Latest reports reveal over the past couple of weeks, Boko Haram has stepped up it’s terror operations. Two weeks ago President GoodLuck Jonathon replaced the entire head of his military, without much surfacing as an explanation other than he was stepping up efforts against the Islamic Insurgency. Nigeria is equally divided among Muslims and Christians. The Boko Haram is attempting a take over to establish a fully Sharia (Islamic Law) governed State.
In separate attacks, suspected Islamic militants used explosives and gunfire to attack a market and Christian village during a church service in Nigeria’s northeast, killing and injuring people, demolished shops and hundreds of homes.
One report claims the attacks in Borno and Adamawa states resulted in one of the highest death tolls in recent attacks by militants defying an 8-month old military state of emergency in three states in northern Nigeria, designed to end the Islamic uprising there.
On Sunday as gunmen numbering over 50 invaded Kawuri District of Konduga Local Government Area of the state set ablaze over 300 houses and shops after killing 52 people including a soldier, and wounding several others including policemen and civilians, reports Vanguard a Nigerian news outlet.
The Boston Herald reported that attackers set off several explosions in Kawuri village in Borno state after launching their assault near the weekly market as vendors were packing up on Sunday night, the security official said.
He said 52 people died and the entire village was burned down, including 300 homes. He also said two improvised explosive devices that were left behind went off Monday morning, narrowly missing security personnel who were collecting bodies in Kawuri. The official blamed suspected Boko Haram militants for the attack.
A police official who evacuated wounded victims confirmed at least 52 people were killed and 16 wounded. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to speak to reporters.
Ari Kolomi, who fled from his village, which is 70 kilometers (45 miles) outside Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, said, “No house was left standing” by the more than 50 extremists who attacked, armed with explosives and guns. Kolomi was searching for relatives in the village to make sure they had survived the attack.
State Police Commissioner Lawan Tanko confirmed the attack but said he was awaiting details on the casualties.
Local Chairman Maina Ularamu said officials recovered 45 bodies including those of two police officers. He urged calm, saying: “I believe security operatives are on top of the situation.”
Also on Sunday, suspected militants in Adamawa state, south of Borno, stormed a Roman Catholic church during a Sunday morning service in Wada Chakawa village. They fired guns into the church, set off explosives and took people hostage during a five-hour siege, residents said. The Rev. Raymond Danbouye, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, said dozens of people were killed.
Villager Moses Apogu said, “They used explosives during the attack on worshippers, and many people lost their lives.” Another resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said some of the people taken away were later killed.
In the adjacent Adamawa State, several people, including two policemen were also feared dead as gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members attacked the church in Chakawa village of Madagali Local Government Area.
The attack in Borno carried out at about 5pm on a market, which many traders and residents sustaining injuries. Some of the injured are being treatment at Konduga General Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
Kawuri District is one of the towns in Konduga, about 60 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.
This is the second attack on the town in the last few months. In October some Boko Haram suspects clashed with vigilante youths popularly known as civilian JTF, which led to the killing of 10 people including three youths, while 18 were injured and over 48 shops and many houses burnt in the attack.
The Governor, Kashim Shettima was due to visit the town yesterday morning suspended his trip following intelligence reports that the place was not safe. The terrorists who attacked the town had planted explosive devices, targeting rescue workers and security operatives deployed to maintain law and order.
Vanguard gathered that the latest attack on Kawuri town took place on Sunday were gunmen suspected to be terrorists armed with AK47 rifles, IEDs and petrol bombs. They entered the community and wreaked havoc before fleeing into the Sambisa forest.
A survivor, Mallam Mustapha Modu said he counted about 47 dead while several others sustained gunshots and various burns.
In the last week, 37 communities of Kwaljiri, Kaya, Ngawo Fate, Limanti, Njaba, Yahuri, Mude, Wala and Alau among others in Damboa, Konduga and Gwoza council areas have been sacked by terrorists. The displaced residents have taken refuge in neighboring villages of Cameroon Republic and other towns including Maiduguri metropolis.
The Police Commissioner of Borno State, told Vanguard,
“I received an intelligence information that Kawuri town was attacked by Boko Haram sect members suspected to be on revenge mission on market day (Sunday), where many civilians were killed while several others were left with serious burn wounds before they set the whole place on fire. We have deployed our men to the area and very soon I will give you with details.”
Tanko said, some of his men were wounded in the attack but he did not lose any of them.
“The gunmen arrived the town using Sports Utility Vehicles, SUVs, and pretended to be villagers coming to the market. “Unknown to the people the gunmen had planted IEDs at strategic areas in the town before carrying out attacks on residents,” said survivor, Malam Isa Ibrahim. He also said gunmen set several houses and shops ablaze before fleeing. Another survivor said, “We counted about 15 bodies of victims at the end of the attack. ‘and also assisted about 20 injured persons to the hospital.”
In Adamawa State, where Christians were attacked on Sunday, some of the worshippers who escaped said, “They used explosives during the attack on worshippers and many people lost their lives”. One worshipper said, “I cannot actually say how many people were killed but about 16 people were evacuated from the church.” Another resident claimed that some houses were also attacked by the gunmen who took some men hostage, while two policemen- an inspector and a sergeant who were on guard in the church were killed. “I saw some people crying, saying that their relatives had been taken away as hostages by the gunmen”. [other reports claim the hostages were later killed]
Attempts to get military and police authorities in the area to comment on the incident were unsuccessful. A soldier in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity told Vanguard that nine people lost their lives during the attack. He said the Army had sealed up the area and were hunting for the fleeing attackers. Military authorities in Adamawa State have promised to speak on the issue later.
With determination to end the violence perpetrated by terrorists in the region, particularly in Bama, Gwoza, Damboa council areas where over 30 communities were sacked and displaced in the last one week, the state command under the recommendation of the Police Service Commission, has promoted the Area Commander of Bama, Mr. David Dangiwa from the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police to Assistant Commissioner of Police. And Officer in-Charge of Operations, Mr. Aminu Koji was promoted from Assistant Commissioner to Deputy Commissioner of Police with immediate effect.
Disturbed by the tragedy, Alhaji Bukar Aji, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), said the fight against terrorism and crimes was a collective responsibility that should not be left for the Presidency alone.
Maiduguri, is considered the epicenter of the Boko Haram murderous attacks. Nearly 200 people have been killed this month in attacks by suspected members of the Boko Haram terrorist network in the area around Maiduguri. The city is the birthplace of the group, whose name in the local Hausa language means “Western education is forbidden.”
A Jan. 14 car bomb exploded in Maiduguri, killing about 70 people. Officials blamed Boko Haram, though the state governor suggested it was the work of political opponents.
Other attacks have forced the flight of hundreds of villagers in about 30 farming communities around Maiduguri. Some of the displaced are camping on the outskirts of the state capital. More than 5,000 refugees from the violence have fled to Cameroon and Niger this month, the U.N. said last week.
In the wake of the weekend attacks, many Nigerian citizens fed up with the violence, are calling for Nigeria to be divided. But many Christians in the North would prefer to stay in their generational homeland and live in peace. They’re protection should be top priority and not allowed to be forced out unwillingly by greed, bigotry and radical extremists. PRAY and be their VOICE!