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Fresh Maiduguri Attack : Growing Concern Over Conflicting Casualty Figure

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SAN FRANCISCO, February 01, (THEWILL) – There are growing concerns over conflicting casualty figures on the fresh Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, Sunday, which security sources say claimed no fewer than 82 lives.

This casualty figure however fell short of the account of a member of the youth vigilante group, Abba Modu, who claimed to have been involved in the battle to repel the insurgents.

According to Modu, no fewer than than 500 insurgents were killed as  the insurgents attempted to enter the state capital.

Security sources, craving anonymity, said  no fewer than 70  Boko Haram gunmen were killed as  10 civilians were gunned down in the crossfire.

About 65 persons were reportedly killed when the insurgents struck a week ago.

According to security sources,  50 Boko Haram fighters were killed in Dalwa, about 20 kilometers from Maiduguri where the hottest battle was fought with the insurgents. Twenty others were killed in other parts of the town where as the insurgents also attempted to enter Maiduguri.

 On Sunday, the insurgents attempted to  enter Maiduguri through Ngom, Dalwa, Molai and Jawuri.

A ccording to Abba Ibrahim, a member of the youth vigilante group, : “The insurgents in their customary way attacked just moments after the early morning Islamic prayers.They attacked the town from Ngom (the border with Mafa), Dalwa (the border with Konduga), Molai (the border with Damboa) and Jawuri (around Njimtilo, border with Kaga on the Damaturu road).”

Giving a graphic detail of the attack, he said:  “The insurgents launched two rocket propelled grenades into Gindari Polo area killing many civilians  but were successfully repelled by the military in conjunction with members of the youth vigilante.

  “Some youths also came out in their numbers to push back the insurgents. We   killed many of them, some pulled back through the rail way heading to Benesheikh and Goniri.”

Meanwhile, Christians in Maiduguri could not go for the Sunday Church services for the second week running due to the attacks.

 The invasion sent shivers down the spine of residents as  sporadic gunfire rocked the entire  town from 6am as the insurgents tried to seize the town.

 A resident of Molai,  Mallam Garba Molai, said they were told by  soldiers in the area to flee and allow them engage the insurgents. According to him,  the soldiers subsequently took position and engaged the terrorists in a fierce battle.

“Many insurgents were killed, including some civilian casualties, while  two  artilleries, vehicles, motorcycles and other armories were recovered. Many people

have also fled the area except a few of us who were assisting the security operatives,” he said.

A Civilian JTF member, Kaka Idi, who was part of the effort to save the town, said:   “We just came back from Dalia village in pursuit of the fleeing terrorists, we killed a lot of them, while  two artillery vehicles, motorcycles and many arms and ammunitions were also recovered.

“One of the insurgents who hid  on the fence of Molai General hospital  was aiming soldiers, our members and civilians but thank God, one resident of the area took him by surprise and came behind the fence and brought him down with his stick where our boys quickly went there and killed him.”

He also disclosed that a 70-year-old man, his granddaughter, and one other girl were killed by a stray rocket propelled grenade  in Zannari, Abuja Sheraton of Maisandari ward of Maiduguri .

 The Christian community in the state has however condemned the incessant Boko Haram attack. A statement titled: “A culture of savagery and bloodbath,” issued by Rev. Fr. Gideon Obasogie, Head , Directorate of Communication, The Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri,   painted a gory picture of  what residents of the state capital have been going through.  

According to the statement, “Residents of Maiduguri are really having a hard time in the face of the Boko Haram slaughter.  The attacks have become ever frequent as they have drawn close to the city.

“Christians in the capital city are really paying the prize for their faith. This is the second Sunday when we have been forced either to attend Mass/ Sunday service lately or never to attain at all. We cannot even have a sound gathering on a Sunday to thank God for his love thus far and most particularly to pray for peaceful elections. The threats and distractions have become totally unbearable.   

“The ferocious attempt by the unrepentant radical Islamist militants, Boko Haram to overrun the capital city of Maiduguri has been very frightening. I wonder and sometimes, I think aloud when all these running will stop. When will this culture of savagery and bloodletting end.   Is it that as a nation we lack the inner capacity to abate it?”