From Timothy Olanrewaju Maiduguri Tony John, Port Harcourt and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Explosives suspected to have been planted by Boko Haram have killed nine security personnel on counter-terorism patrol near Maiduguri, Borno State.
The explosives occurred on Tuesday evening at Kayamla, a small community at the outskirts of the state capital.
Nine of the 29 hunters and vigilante in the three 4-wheel vehicles were reportedly killed by the explosion. Some of the survivors said the incident occurred as the men were returning from Kayamla after a night patrol of the area.
Abubakar Gambo, one of the survivors, said the hunters who were chasing Boko Haram ran into the exolosives.
“We were on patrol at Kayamla and our vehicle stepped on bomb but thank God nobody was injured at first. We then ordered extra tyres to fix the back and front tyres affected by the bomb.”
He, however, said their colleagues sighted Boko Haram while they were fixing the tyres and decided to give the insurgents a chase.
“They fled when they saw us and we started pusuing them unknown to us they had put bomb on the way.”
A member of the House of Representatives from the area, Ahmed Satomi, described the incident as sad. He said the hunters sacrificed their lives to keep the area safe.
Satomi, who represents Jere Federal constituency lamented over what he called increasing Boko Haram attacks in the area.
“The people would be left with no other option than to defend themselves in the face of the helpless situation.”
Neither the military nor the police has made any official comment on the incident. Nobody has also claimed responsibility though the inciident was not different from previous blasts by Boko Haram in the area.
Boko Haram has in recent time stepped up attacks in communities and highways in the State. It attacked about five towns in the southern part few days ago and killed some travellers along Maiduguri- Damaturu road.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, met with the governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, at the State House Abuja.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, confirmed this in a post he shared on Facebook with three pictures attached.
His post read: “President Buhari receives in audience Borno State Governor Prof. Babagana Zulum in State House on 30th Dec 2020.”
Although he was silent on the purpose of the visit, it was howeve gathered that it was connected to the security challenges facing the state.
On Saturday, at least three people were confirmed killed in one of the Borno communities in Hawul Local Government Area attacked by Boko Haram.
The insurgents reportedly destroyed schools, places of worship and other buildings during the attack on the four communities.
“About four communities, comprising Tashan Alade, Shafa, Azare, Sabon-Kasuwa and Debro, were affected by Saturday’s attack with schools, shops and places of worship destroyed by the insurgents,” Isa Gusau, the sthe governor’s spokesperson to the governor had said in a statement.
In another incident, gunmen suspected to be cultists on Tuesday night reportedly killed two persons at Luubara community in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A native of the community, Nwibani Barry, explained that the gunmen invaded the community at about 8pm and went to a beer parlour near the market square where they shot indiscriminately at people.
Nwibani revealed that two men, Timothy Baridapdo and Bariyaa, died at a spot while two ladies, who sustained gunshot injuries were taken to the hospital by the Divisional Police Officer of Bori Division. He called on relevant security agencies to come to the aide of the community.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. It was not also clear if the dead victims were members of cult groups.
A community source, who did not want to be mentioned, disclosed that the gunmen might be members of a cult group who were in search of their rivals.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni confirmed the incident.
Omoni said a 35-year-old man identified as Bariya Timothy died in the attack, adding that it was a clash between two rival cult groups.
“It was a cult clash between two rival groups leading to the death of one Bariya Timothy ‘m’ 35 years, a notorious gang leader whose gang is responsible for the attacks in Lubara community and its environs. No arrest has been made; however, all hands are on deck to arrest members of both cult groups. The community is peaceful and areas under close monitoring,” Omoni stated.