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Boko Haram Lays Siege To Borno Highway, Kills 18 Traders

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, (THEWILL) â€'Boko Haram gunmen Tuesday evening again laid a siege to the Bama-Gwoza road in Borno State and attacked two buses conveying traders from the local market in Pulka, killing 18 of the traders.

Pulka, a Nigerian border town with Cameroon, lies some 119 kilometres south of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

An eyewitness, Hamba Tada, disclosed that the gunmen ambushed the traders, who were on their way back home from the market at Wala village, 10 kilometres to Gwoza.

He said the traders were forced to disembark from the two buses and were asked to identify themselves.

'After chanting God is great in Arabic, the insurgents asked the traders to identify themselves first, before the drivers are allowed to proceed on the barricaded road; and when you identify yourself as a Gwoza resident, the gunmen shot and kill the person.

'Unfortunately, all the occupants of the two buses are residents of the town, and that was how the traders were shot and killed.

'Non-residents of Gwoza, on that road, after the insurgents mounted a road block at Wala, were allowed free passage, without being killed,' Tada said.

He said the attack may be retaliatory as he attributed the selective killings of Gwoza residents to the belief of the gunmen that the people might have provided information to the military and other security agencies which led to the arrest of one of the Boko Haram commanders last month.

He said the Bama-Gwoza road was not well patrolled by security agencies. ''We sighted about two patrol vehicles last Sunday in the evening towards the Sambisa Forest, but the following day, Monday; no Military or Police vehicle passed on this road to protect us from the activities of the insurgents. The absence of soldiers on this road enabled the gunmen to strike easily and kill.'

Tada lamented that: 'After perpetrating their heinous crimes, the gunmen fled into the hill tops Mandara Mountains and Sambisa Forest; and then returned to this road to ambush and kill innocent people.'

He said 'the insurgents know these terrains better than the military and it is easy for them to perpetrate terrorists activities in the Bama-Gwoza axis.'

Confirming the incident, a senior police officer who craved anonymity, said besides the Chibok abduction of 100 school girls, 18 persons were feared dead at a village in Gwoza Local Government Area.

He said the traders were on their way back from a market in the border town of Pulka when the Boko Haram gunmen ambushed them, killing 18 traders in two buses.