Borno: 51 Persons Killed , 25 Teenage Girls Abducted in Fresh Boko Haram Attack On Kodunga
BEVERLY HILLS, February 12, (THEWILL) - No fewer than 51 persons were killed and 25 teenage girls abducted Tuesday evening as Boko Haram insurgents numbering over 200 again stormed Konduga, a town along the Maiduguri-Bama Road , some 40 kilometres away from the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, leaving tears, sorrow and blood.
The town has always been the target of attack by the insurgents believed to be operating from their Sambissa Forest strongholds.
The attack, which resulted into a massive destruction of the town also led to a major humanitarian crisis, with residents fleeing enmasse for dear lives.
The Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, could not help but shed tears as he watched over 33 corpses who were among those killed being prepared for burial on Wednesday when he visited the town in company with some of his aides and journalists.
Eighteen victims of the attack were said to have been buried earlier at the Madarari, ward of town with two other corpses seen lying unattended to on the streets.
Residents of the town said over 100 persons may have been killed in the attack as 25 teenage girls were also abducted by the insurgents.
The insurgents were said to have stormed stormed Kodunga at 4pm in 39 Toyota Hilux vehicles, armed with sophisticated weapons which include rocket propelled grenades (RPGS), assault riffles and explosives devices before subjecting the residents to over four hours of terror.
The men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and the youth vigilante group (Civilian JTF) were also said to have been overpowered by the insurgents.
The residents listed the buildings destroyed by the insurgents to include the Central Mosque, District Head Palace, Abba Ashigar School of Business and Administrative Studies, which was almost reduced to rubble.
Giving a graphic account of the attack, a resident who spoke on condition of anonymity, said "About seven gunmen came, they stood in my front, one was on the tree pointing his riffle and the others were shooting sporadically even as they threw explosive at the houses.
' He said two persons, including a boy, were killed during the attack.
Another resident, one Alhaji Ibrahim, said some wares were burnt at the market as the shops were blown up with explosives.
Disclosing that the insurgents came at around 4pm, he said: "We saw so many vehicles coming, the soldiers exchanged fire with them, they later fled (soldiers) after they were overpowered.
The Civilian JTF were also overpowered and we were left at the mercy of the assailants.
" Ibrahim said over 100 people were killed with many corpses still lying in bushes unattended to with many running for dear lives, saying the insurgents were dressed in military camouflage but were veiled in turban which differentiated them from the soldiers who were on helmets.
Another resident , one Iya Kaka, said: 'Boko Haram came to our houses, we have been living peacefully, they came at about 4pm and destroyed everything, our children are scattered we do not know if they are alive or dead.
" A teacher in the town, Yana Kwada, said from his hiding place which was destroyed by the insurgents, he saw them abducting five teenage girls from the market.
He also said another group of insurgents , who had abducted 20 teenage girls from Government Girls Secondary School and Ashigar School of Business and Administrative Studies , brought them to be taken to their camps in the forest.
A trip round the town presented a gory picture with houses razed completely by the raging inferno ignited by the explosives with many domestic animals seen roasted by the fire.
Governor Shettima wept profusely during the prayer over the corpses at the partially destroyed central mosque.
He directed that food items should be immediately brought in for the people as he also directed his Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to give out N100 million for the purchase of building materials and food items for the people.
The governor also ordered the State Commissioner for Works to handle the purchase of the building materials while he directed the Commissioner for Local Government to handle the purchase of food items.
"Security or no security I am ready to stay with my people.
Whoever wishes to go anywhere can do that but I will remain with Borno people and share their pain.
Nobody should bring the suggestion that any part of the state is not safe for me to go to.
I am ready to face the problem with my people and together we will find solution to it.
Whatever resources it will take to build the houses, I will spend it," Shettima said at the occasion.
Responding to the humanitarian crisis caused by the massive destruction of the town, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has moved into the town to establish camps for the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
NEMA, in a statement by the Northeast Zonal Information Officer, Abdulkadir Ibrahim , said: "The Zonal office received the reports from the Nigerian Red Cross on the occurrence of attacks on Tuesday, 11th February, 2014 at around 5pm by unknown gunmen.
"The coordinated attack took place in Konduga, a town along Maiduguri-Bama Road which is about 40 kilometres away from the State capital Maiduguri, Borno State.
" The NEMA Zonal spokesman also said: "According to some residents, the gunmen were said to be in large number, with very sophisticated weapons such as guns, IED, etc.
' He however said "Assessment has been carried out and the registration of Internally Displaced people (IDPS) people has begun,' adding 'Basic relief items will soon be delivered.