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15 days after threat letter: B'Haram strikes 4 villages near Chibok, many killed

By The Citizen

Boko Haram terrorists yesterday invaded four villages near Chibok, killing many people and setting churches ablaze.

A member of a local vigilante, who declined to be named, told the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that the terrorists simultaneously struck Kautikari, Nasarawa, Gwaradina and Kwadake villages in the Chibok community.

'Air force plane was sent to the area for counter-attack; unfortunately the plane could not get there in good time to rescue the villagers,' he said.

A survivor of the attack on Kautikiri village, Samuel Chibok, said that around 20 men in a Toyota pick-up truck and motorcycles rolled into the town, sprayed it with bullets, focusing much of their firepower on panicky worshippers in a local church.

'Initially I thought they were military people but, when I came out, they were firing at people. I saw people fleeing and they burned our houses,' he said.

Confirming the incident to the BBC, the senator representing Borno South senatorial district, Mohammed Ali Ndume, and the House member representing Askira-Uba, Peter Biye, said they were informed of the attack in the four villages but he could not confirm the casualties as at the time of filing this report.

Members of the vigilante on rescue mission have said they have picked more than 30 corpses in three different burnt churches and surrounding bushes after the gunmen attacked two communities in Chibok local government area of Borno State.

The attackers, according to witnesses, stormed the village of Kwada, 10km away from Chibok, and opened fire on worshippers performing the Sunday service in various churches.

About three churches in Kwada village comprising COCCIN, EYN and Deeper Life Bible Church were attacked by the insurgents who stormed the village about 8:30am yesterday.

'We have so far recovered more than 30 corpses, but we got more of them from the EYN church where the Boko Haram gunmen first attacked in Kawada,' said a vigilante member who pleaded anonymity for his personal safety.

The vigilante member said they were not impressed with the response of the soldiers in Chibok who, he said, got an earlier alert about the attack but shied away from directly confronting the attackers.

'We are disappointed with the soldiers. When we heard about the attack in Kwada, we raised the alarm and informed the soldiers, but instead of going into the town to confront them, they stood from a distance outside the village, under a tree and began to shoot no target. The gunmen finished with Kwada and proceeded to Kautikari, where they attacked people there until 11:30am when they finally left. We cannot say how many people were killed in Kwada yet.'

A police officer confirmed to journalists in Maiduguri that he was informed that his younger brother had been killed during the attack in Kwada.

'I was attending church service in Maiduguri when I began to see several calls on my phone; so I had to excuse myself to receive the call since it was coming from the village; it was then I was informed that my younger brother was killed in the church during the attack,' said the police officer.

It was also learnt that the house of one Mr Baba John, a top aide of Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, was also set ablaze and in Kwada village during the attack. The police public relations officer (PPRO) in Borno State, Gideon Jubrin, said the command had not been able to confirm the incident when journalists called on him about 1:26pm yesterday.

'My attention was brought to the incident by a reporter and we have been battling to connect with our divisional headquarters in Chibok for details, but it seems all the communication networks are down or something. Presently we are in the office at the control room trying to get signal from Chibok or Askira Uba; as soon as we are able to do that we will get across,' said Mr Gideon.

Borno State governor Kashim Shettima, who was billed to travel yesterday, had to put off the trip as he received the news of the ongoing attack. Leadership