My Escape From Boko Haram, A Top Secret - Shehu Of Bama
BEVERLY HILLS, February 20, (THEWILL) - The Shehu of Bama, Alhaji Kyari Ibn Ibrahim Elkanemi, Thursday, gave a graphic account of his ordeal in the hands of the Boko Haram insurgents, who attacked Bama Wednesday, saying his escape from the terroists' siege on his palace was a top secret he would not disclose to anyone.
He disclosed that many had thought he had been killed by the gunmen, who attacked his palace and set a section of it on fire.
Explaining how the attack started, the Shehu said: "Somebody called me in town at about 4am yesterday (Wednesday) that he saw some people in a convoy of vehicles and motorcycles at Goni Kurmi road (at the outskirt of the town).
'Shortly after, another person called me and gave me same information and I quickly alerted an Army Captain.
"Not less than 30 minutes later, I started hearing gunshots from grenade, rocket and explosive devices.
Then later, my people in the palace informed me that many women and children have ran into the four corners of the palace, waiting to take refuge in the palace.
"Then, the Boko Haram came to drive them away, asking them to leave.
They tried to open the main gate to the palace but they couldn't succeed.
They then used grenade and explosive to open it.
I immediately moved my family and other people in the palace to the other area within the palace.
They tried but couldn't entered the main part of the palace but they then burnt down all the vehicles.
' According to the monarch, "They (insurgents) took over the town from 4.
30am till about 11am when a helicopter came.
I even learnt the Boko Haram were trying to shoot at the helicopter.
The military fought them but they also ran out of bullets and they take cover.
" He lamented that the Federal Governor seems to have abandoned the people to their fate.
"It is as if government is not taking this problem seriously.
To be frank, the morale of people here about government is nil," he said .
The monarch lamented that the crisis has the potential of breaking the country, asking : 'Can the Federal Government treat the people of other areas, especially in the south like this without drawing their wrath?,' adding 'It is sad that daily people get killed and no one is doing something big to stop this.
" He lamented that the security forces sent to the area are incapacitated.
"The security forces are incapacitated to safeguard the lives and properties of the citizens.
Leaders should not fear anybody but Almighty God.
The Federal Government woefully failed in its mandate to guarantee our safety.
Even the military commanders who spoke to me confirmed that they are incapacitated as they have limitations in their operations.
'The insurgents have several training camps surrounding us but the troops are seemingly scared even as the youth volunteers are always anxious to lead the military to attack the insurgents," he said.
The monarch who said he had to supervise the burial of 34 persons, said: "We told people to be bringing their corpses to the central mosque to record the casualty but many people have already buried their relations before the message got to them but we did funeral prayers for 34 people at the Central mosque.
" The Borno State Commissioner of Police, Tanko Lawan, had said that only 47 persons were killed in the eight hours siege on the town.
But the chairman of the Local Government, Baba Shehu Gulumba, said 80 persons were killed by the gunmen who also lost about 100 of their members.
This came as the leader of the youth volunteer group, Civilian JTF, Akura Satomi, disclosed that members of his group retrieved 98 corpses of victims of the attack for burial, adding that the gunmen also lost about 100 of their men.
A District Head of Goniri Ward, Alhaji Baa Shehu Terab was listed among those killed by the gunmen Over 500 buildings , including the palace of the Shehu of Bama, Kyari Ibn El-Kanemi, house of the local government chairman, residential houses, shops, schools and markets were burnt.
Others were the local government secretariat public offices and several buildings occupied by security forces, among others.
The gunmen were said to have stormed into the town through Goni Kurmi at the outskirts of the commercial town and went about destroying buildings and killing innocent persons.
A resident of the town, Ali Modu, said: "I was preparing for early morning prayers when I started hearing gunshots.
At the break of the day, I saw the Boko Haram vehicles speeding off through our area.
There were many corpses in their vehicles.
We buried 42 people yesterday morning, nine in the evening yesterday and four today in the morning.
" The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Babakaka Bashir Garbai, witnessed the funeral rites of the district head of Goniri, Alhaji Baba Shehu Terab, in front of his burnt house when he visited Bama on Thursday.
His family members said he was shot in the head and later rushed to the hospital before dying on Thursday.
A corpse was also brought out into a waiting bus in front of the Bama General Hospital during the commissioner's visit.
At the hospital, the Chief Nursing Officer, Emit Mohammed Shuwa, said, "we received 200 patients, 48 were admitted for gunshot injuries, but we lost 17 of them.
We just removed nine bullets now from the bodies of some patients.
16 people have been referred to Maiduguri hospitals.
" About 116 commercial vehicles were also said to have been burnt in the three motor parks in the town during the attack.