'Seven Soldiers, 10 Boko Haram Gunmen Died in Bama'
SAN FRANCISCO, April 29, (THEWILL) - Indications emerged on Monday that no fewer than seven security operatives and 10 Boko Haram gunmen were lost to the gun battle between suspected members of Boko Haram and security personnel in Bama, a commercial town situated about 75kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, last Thursday in which about 200 houses and shops were burnt.
The revelation, Monday, was contrary to what the police had confirmed last week, saying only two policemen were killed in the attack .
The security situation in and around the town had made unrestricted movement impossible until the Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, visited on Monday to personally assess the situation .
Welcoming Shettima during the visit, the Commander of the Bama Barracks, Lt. Col A.G Laka, informed the governor that trouble started in the town when armed Boko Haram gunmen attacked a police patrol vehicle of a Divisional Police Officer, killing two of his orderlies.
He also told the governor that in a separate attack on the same day, Boko Haram gunmen laid ambush on soldiers patrolling the suburbs of Bama, killing a soldier and injuring four others.
The DPO in charge of Bama, Eko Lawu, who was the target of the suspected gunmen, said he only managed to escape because he was dressed in mufti and the gunmen, numbering six, who were openly carrying AK 47 when they opened fire on his vehicle, couldn't recognise him immediately.
He disclosed that aside his two orderlies who were killed in the attack, five other policemen were also killed during the gun battle with the insurgents.
According to the DPO, the Boko Haram members also lost ten of their members as the attempt by the combined team of soldiers and police returned to return fire for fire on the terrorists led to the ignition of fire on buildings, mostly shopping malls.
However, residents of the town, still boiling with anger, told Shettima to order the withdrawal of the soldiers from the streets of Bama as they vowed to take law into their hands should they suffer further harassment.
A local politician, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said over 500 small time traders lost their wares in the fire.
Laka however explained that the Boko Haram insurgents were using civilians, mostly women and children in the thatch houses, as human shield.
Meanwhile, the Borno State governor, who expressed sadness over the development has called for general caution on the part of the security operatives and residents.
He also ordered seven trucks of food items and other relief items to be delivered to Bama on Tuesday and distributed to the displaced residents, while he constituted a committee to assess the situation and advise government on adequate compensation required by the victims.