11 feared dead in Boko Haram ‘political’ attack
Saturday’s early morning attack by members of Boko Haram which reportedly claimed the lives of about 11 persons [source claimed the fatalities could be as high as 18] in Borno State may have some political underpinning, it was learnt on Saturday.
Apart from the attack, about four days ago, on the convoy of Governor Kashim Shettima, the recent early morning attacks on some residents near Maiduguri, the state capital, by Boko Haram members, according to some civilian joint task force (JTF) sources who kept vigil to ensure the safety of the city for the now shifted February 16 election, were for political reasons.
The sources claimed that part of the suspicions raised by the attacks were that they had been targeted at “the political friends and supporters of Governor Shettima, who was ambushed for the first time in four years on the Dikwa – Gamboru-Ngala road.”
There would have been heavier casualty…
Sunday Tribune learnt that many residents of Maiduguri had planned to come out to vote for candidates of their choice, but that the entire city became quiet due to the sudden postponement of the election.
It was added that the city also became desolate obviously for fear of the Boko Haram insurgents who see election as part of vestiges of Western civilisation and had planned to attack partakers of the exercise.
Our civilian JTF source indicated that the attack which left many people dead in the outskirts of Maiduguri metropolis showed that many more people would have been killed, had the election held.
It was further learnt that the damage could have been higher in very remote areas where “they may have posted only one or two security personnel to protect the people.”
A security source told Sunday Tribune that Bomari Karikari and Caterpillar area, about eight kilometres from Maiduguri, were attacked by insurgents who killed many people.
“Over 18 people were killed in Kerekeri and the surrounding areas by suicide bombers and rifle-carrying insurgents at about 5:00 a.m. when some of them were already up and about to pray. It was only with the exception of women and children who were still in bed.
“Their target was the crowd that would have gathered as early as possible for the election. Their claim is that they are fighting Western education, the constitution and politics. These are the basic grudges they have against us. That is why we thank God that they had not caused more damage before we rushed to the place to rescue some of our people,” the source said.
Troops’ intervention also handy
Meanwhile, troops of Operation Lafia Dole were also alerted that there was an attack by Boko Haram terrorists using Person Borne Improvised Explosive Device (PBIED) at Jidimari community in Jidari Polo area of Jere Local Government Area of the state on Saturday.
Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, in a statement made available to Sunday Tribune in Abuja, said this was in the insurgents’ “highly desperate, orchestrated and collaborative resolve with their cohorts and sponsors to scuttle the 2019 general elections.”
According to him, troops of 251 Task Force Battalion, in conjunction with civilian JTF, immediately repelled the attack, mopped up and cleared the general area.
He said the encounter led to the elimination of three Boko Haram terrorists and recovery of two AK-47 rifles.
Unfortunately, he said, four innocent civilians lost their lives as a result of terrorists’ gunfire, “in addition to lethal explosion arising from explosives mainly targeted at a mosque at a prime time of early morning prayers.”